Every year that I can remember, my grandmother got me a tea pot for Christmas. Some years, there were entire sets of fine china. Some years, it was just a unique, decorative tea pot that she found at a home decor shop or antique store. Now, I have 26* tea pots that I pull out and decorate with throughout the year. These gifts have always been special to me and they’re all the more meaningful now that I’ll be spending my first Christmas without my grandmother. So is it my turn to start the tradition with my own daughter? I’m just not sure.
I guess in the back of my mind, I always assumed that my grandmother would start her own special gifting tradition with my little girl. It never occurred to me that I might need to take the reins on this process. I have put absolutely zero thought into what collection I might want to start for my daughter. Now the holidays are approaching and I feel like I’m letting my little girl down.
Of course we have our own holiday traditions. We have tons of them. Each year, we come together as a family and buy an animal through Heifer International to help a family in need. I’ve always felt like that was our special little tradition. But it’s not the same as having something special to hold on to.
So now, here I am, evaluating different collectibles and trying to decide which, if any, would excite a four-year-old. My best friend used to get a snow globe every year for the holidays. The Disney Store used to have these huge, elaborate snow globes of scenes from their movies. I can remember saving up for months to spend $50 on a snow globe for Jessa one year in middle school. My daughter loves snow globes, so this seemed like the perfect idea until I found out that Disney doesn’t make a lot of them anymore.
After the snow globe idea went bust, I started looking at lockets and china dolls and pieces of art. I circled back to tea pots, wondering if I shouldn’t just continue the tradition that my grandmother started. None of it felt right.
It feels a bit like I’m forcing a tradition, like I’m trying too hard to recreate something in my grandmother’s image. Then I feel lazy for giving up and denying my daughter the same meaningful holiday tradition that I’ve come to enjoy. There are just so many feelings!
I would love to have a tidy conclusion to this meandering tale about holiday traditions and presents. I wish I could tell you that I found the perfect special gift for my daughter and I to share, for her to appreciate when she’s an adult and contemplating her own child’s gifts. Unfortunately, I’m still struggling.
The truth is that no matter what I buy my daughter, I’m not going to get a tea pot this year for the holidays. Whatever gifts I buy, this tradition is ending. I’m not going to be able to buy my way out of feeling that loss.
I could buy my daughter a tea pot this year for Christmas. I could say that it is in honor of my grandmother, and it would be. But I’m just not sure that it would be coming from an honest place. It’s not my daughter’s tradition. Perhaps I just need to sit back and let us find our own special collection, whether that happens this year or a decade from now, instead of forcing her into the one that I’m sad to see go.
*I would have 27, but my dogs knocked over the baker’s rack in my kitchen, breaking one of my tea pots and inspiring a rage in me that I didn’t know was there. It happened over a year ago and I still haven’t forgiven them.