Today I am so pleased to bring a different voice to this space- my dear friend Deadra Berkan- who blogs over at The Tweedles- all about finding her tribe and creating new traditions in a new place. She graciously agreed to write all about the annual cookie swap she attends with her friends- hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Nearly seven years ago my husband and I made the pilgrimage from the frozen north to a wet, yet sunny land, the mecca for the geeky engineer types, Silicon Valley. Then two years later we welcomed our first baby into the world, and everything changed, in the most amazing wonderful way.
Trixie was ten months old for her first Christmas and I spent a lot of time in the months leading up to it worrying and plotting which traditions we would impart onto our burgeoning family. I had some growing up that I hold near and dear to my heart, like the family breakfast of smoked kippers on Christmas morning, our long drawn out ritual of opening presents (one at a time please!) and the over consumption of carbs for dinner. I wanted my children to have a similar connection to Christmas, where we celebrated family. So I plotted what we would do to create our own traditions. I felt this pressure that if I didn't instill them that first Christmas with her, then they wouldn't happen. Looking back now, I stressed too much, now I see that traditions that come about much more organically are better and more cherished Our Christmases now are full of tradition, some are pretty concrete (mimosas for Mama please!) and some are evolving each year, (Yorkshires at dinner, made by Daddy- the only thing he cooks all year.)
An interesting tradition that happened on it's own is one of my favourites. Since we live in Silicon Valley we have no extended family around us, as do so many other of my friends, so we've created our own adopted families and we celebrate together, rely on one another. It's really amazing how we've all adopted each other and created this amazing support network. Without these mamas I would be so lost and alone, but they have made living here so worth while. One of the things we've done together, every year since our nearly five year olds were born was to have a cookie exchange. First it started out as a family event, Daddies and babies in tow, we'd all sit around, chat, snack and sing some children's songs with the mostly immobile babies. Then the next years, there was less sitting and chatting, more chasing toddlers and playing toddler games, amidst the cookie exchanging. Then this year we made it a mom's night in, where we exchanged cookies and had a white elephant gift exchange, and went back to the snacking and chatting. It was heavenly and we all agreed that all future cookie exchanged would be sans children. We all came away with a couple dozen cookies, a lovely gift and a lovely buoyed feeling from spending an evening with women we've known for years now.
This has become one of my most cherished traditions. These mamas mean so much to me and I really appreciate being able to include them in my holiday in some manner.