December! December already. How did that happen?

It has a been a whirlwind at AM Central. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate that, what else could we close 2012 with, except a month of articles on the theme of celebration?

Sinterklaas is currently crisscrossing the country before leaving for Madrid again. Many of our families will then start to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus (or Father Christmas – depending on your cultural heritage).  

Our Jewish mamas are anticipating the start of their festival of light, Hanukkah, on the 8th of December and many of our other international parents have holidays from their own cultures to celebrate. On the website this month our families will be telling us how they celebrate, how they maintain their cultural traditions when they are far from home and how they are blending in new traditions for their families from their new home country. We will be telling you about the things that Amsterdam Mamas has to celebrate this year and how we will be paying it forward in 2013. We will also be helping you find unusual presents and well-loved classics as you prepare for the gift-giving season.

I am not sure how many people will have made the connection that the Overseas Grandparent is, in fact, my mother. Every month she turns in her article (on time!) and each time I learn something about my childhood or her childhood that I never knew and probably would never have known without the articles she is sharing here. This month she will be talking about creating traditions with your children. Whether you are near or far from your family this year, I would urge you, if you are still able, to ask them more about their lives. The stories I am learning now from my mother are the ones I will be passing down to my son, but I would not have had them, nor thought to ask the questions, without the prompt of this website. So take the opportunity of the celebrations this month, if you can, to ask your families questions about what has been important and special to them in their lives and why. Hold those stories tight in your heart. It may turn out to be the best gift you receive.

On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, “Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.”

Halfway out of the dark. I like that. Winter seemed to start very early in the Netherlands this year and all our fingers are crossed that spring starts to peek through just as early to compensate. But, until then, we will light our candles. We will hold our families closer in our hearts, even when we cannot be with them in person, and rejoice that we are halfway out of the dark.

Celebrate: welcome to December.

P.S. Yes, that quote is from Doctor Who.

photo credit: State Farm via Flickr cc

Emmy Coffey McCarthy

Emmy McCarthy was the Director of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas. She is a Mama, Entrepreneur and Connector on a never-ending quest for balance in her life.