Today I was thinking about how quickly the winter holidays fly by. Before we know it our check lists are complete, one or two whirlwind days have come and gone and off we go running to the next thing. Traditions are sure to be a part of our checklists. They are for me. I asked my oldest what traditions she wanted to make sure to do this year. We had less time due to my job and business schedules. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t disappointed. Her list was much shorter than mine and I gladly catered to her desired traditions. They were simple and they were important.
In theory, I think traditions are meant to make sure we don’t miss anything about the holidays. But, more importantly, I think they help us slow down. It’s like the plot of a Hallmark movie. It’s consistent and it’s expected. It’s safe and rarely surprises us. I think by the end of the year, especially, this is what we want. Something consistent and expected in our holiday plans.
Side note: I told my Mags if a boy tells her he loves her after three days, look around, she will probably be in a Hallmark movie.
My favorite tradition is three generations old, if not more. A few days before Christmas I carve out a whole morning or an afternoon to make my grandma’s cinnamon rolls. On Christmas after the gifts are opened we gather around these luscious homemade rolls. The roll eating takes seconds unless you pause to savor the process. The roll making is what takes the time.
I am not slow when it comes to most things, thus this year long adventure to reduce anxiety and to decrease hurry in my life. These rolls are the opposite of hurried. They are nothing but slow. A rushed roll is a dense roll. Not awesome.
Here is an overview of the process: take warm water, just the right temperature, and add yeast. Let it sit. Once the yeast is ready, you make the dough, kneed it and let it rise to double its size. This can take quite a while on a winter’s day unless the house is nice and toasty. (Unless the oven is on to warm-up the kitchen.) Once you roll out the dough, butter it, spread the cinnamon sugar mixture, roll the dough and cut it into appropriate size rolls. Once in pans, let them rise again. Bake them once they are large enough and don’t forget the entire reason for the rolls – the frostings/glaze.
There are definitely quicker ways to make cinnamon rolls. For me the joy is the process. This year I took even more time to linger with it. The first two rolls were shared around a cup of coffee with a friend. I allowed myself to go slowly and not rush the rising. Sure, the rolls were amazing and the tradition upheld, but my soul was content after this lovely morning. I was satisfied being a bit less hurried.
So this brings me to my first intervention in my hurried life. This tradition does not have to be for Christmas alone. The rolls, maybe, need to stay special, but if the process of the rolls was so healthy, why not emulate it more often?
First exercise in hurry reduction: find a slow recipe, carve out the time each month and put it in pen on the calendar. Make the recipe and linger over the making and the result. Share it with someone who will appreciate the process.
Traditions can also create a sense of normalcy and gratitude when our anxiety gets the best of us. Being grateful for those in my life or those who have passed down a tradition helps me to refocus. I allow myself to rest in the safe and consistent place instead of worry.
Here is to traditions and the Hallmark movie you find yourself watching over and over!