For me, holiday traditions feel safe, peaceful, and pleasant. And so this year, when reality set in, and several traditions were halted, I was fearful. However, with a sense of hope and resilience, my family and I adjusted and adapted and even created a couple of new traditions that I will add to our “silver lining” collection. (More about this another time.)
There is one relatively new tradition that carried on, and even seemed emphasized this season. It’s called the “Little Ditty.” What is it? For my family, a Little Ditty is a short note, but not just a note; it’s a note with a “twist.” This twist is the special message intended to advise, inspire, boost confidence, or bring a smile of joy to the reader.
Little Ditties began with this Santa advent calendar, as seen in the picture, given to my family several years ago by dear friends. Santa is made of cloth and felt with 25 small pockets in his jacket and a small candy cane attached to a string, which my daughters took turns moving from one pocket to the next. Like the advent calendar you may have, this holiday decoration was used to count down the days to the magical day in the month of December, preparing us for Christmas day and the New Year ahead.
It was about four years ago, sometime in December -- I know it wasn’t the first of December as the tradition hadn’t started yet, but as I often do, I wrote a little note of inspiration to my family. Instead of laying it on the kitchen counter, I gently folded it and placed it in one of Santa’s pockets. And just as I usually have to call my family’s attention to my lovely notes, this one in Santa’s pocket, was no different. Throughout the month, a few more notes were left in Santa’s pockets. Each requiring announcement it was there to read.
The next year I wrote the notes even more consistently, but still not every day of the month, and still each required me to enthusiastically call my family’s attention to it and its insightful, heartfelt messages. (Cue eye roll!)
It was just last year, at the top of December, that I vowed to my family to write a little message each day until and including Christmas day, and ceremonially named the event, Little Ditty. Even with this level of importance, I still had to ask almost daily, if anyone had read the Little Ditty, and the answer was usually, “No!” So then, I would choose whomever was closest to read the day’s Little Ditty, out loud. As the words were read, day by day, I could feel small bits of Christmas magic flow out into our home. I could tell the family loved them. (Cue another eye roll!)
This year we brought our Christmas decorations up from storage on November 28th. Out from the boxes came nut crackers, bells, snow globes, ribbons, and then, the Santa advent calendar. And to my delight, when Santa was taken out of his box, I heard, “Are you going to write Little Ditties this year?” Hearing this was exciting and heartwarming! You know the feeling you get when you think about your favorite Christmas tradition? This was the feeling I had! My heart was full and I knew it was going to be a happy holiday season. Without hesitation, I exclaimed, “Yes!” And so from December 1st to December 25th, I made it my mission to pay close attention to my world and decide daily, what was worthy of becoming a “Little Ditty.” Believe it or not, despite how “crazy” our current word is, it brought me joy not only to write these messages, but to realize how many positive and beautiful observations I experienced each day. I share this joy with you.