The calendar has flipped to December and with it, the bustle of the holidays and approaching new year officially begins. There just doesn't seem to be enough time, does there? The to-do lists grow and you find yourself writing down "Start thinking about gift ideas" just so you have something to cross off.
Over the years, I've begun to realize that what matters is not so much what we do during the holidays, it's that we choose what we do. There's nothing more miserable than rushing from party to party and store to store because that's what everyone else is doing. This season is a very personal one and too often, we allow the expectations of others to determine our choices.
One of my favorite things about starting a family was the chance to define our own traditions, to decide for ourselves what this season means. One year, we decided to start a book as a family on Thanksgiving Day and read it together each night, finishing on Christmas Eve. This meant that every night, no matter how many things there were left to do or how stressed we felt, we found 20 minutes to sit on the couch together. No television, phones, or laptops; just a book and a voice. We did it for many years and they are some of my favorite memories.