This year we are lucky enough to get to spend the holidays with Adam’s whole family. His youngest brother and family will be visiting from the west coast for a few weeks. As I was bringing my sister-in-law up to speed about how we celebrate Christmas here I realized that this is not a tradition-loving group. We have done some fun things in the past like White Elephant thrift store gifts exchanged through a game of spin the bottle, a goofy costumed family photo, a silent charity auction on Christmas morning, but after we do it once it seems to loose its luster.

This has been a struggle for me as a tradition lover. Once I find my way I would be happy repeating the exact same rituals each year. It is part of why I love Halloween. Each year we celebrate with the same friends, we eat the same meal, we trick or treat on the same route and view the pumpkins on the same bridge at the end of the night. It is a tradition that has been perfected and I hope it lasts for many years. I longed for Christmas to have the same certainty, but the family gathering traditions have not solidified. Realizing that this group likes to keep things fresh is going to help me manage my expectations this year.

Adam and I went to Iceland last year (still need to post about that…someday). Iceland is basically my spirit animal. So much yarn, so much beauty and so much book-loving. Iceland has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. When it gets cold people pretty much hibernate with books and crafts. And this year we decided to incorporate a bit of Iceland into our own holiday.

We are going to try Jolabokaflod the “Yule Book Flood.” On Christmas Eve each person is going to bring a wrapped book and each person will get a new book to take home and read until Santa comes. I love the idea of spending Christmas Eve reading and I think common texts help knit a group together. I know this is my one shot at this tradition and I am excited to give it a try this year.

We are still going to do something old (stockings), something new (books!) something borrowed (Jolbokaflod) and hopefully that means our Christmas won’t be blue.

City Mama, where do you fall on the tradition vs. novelty spectrum at the holidays?