We have a Christmas Eve tradition. It started some time after we stopped spending Christmas Eve at my grandma Bunny’s house in Woodland Hills, CA, and needed to create some holiday rituals that we unique to our family of two parents and two kids. Each person is given three candles and is told to think of three wishes. One is for yourself, one is for your family and one is to include the whole world. We have always gone oldest to youngest, and start with the personal wish. You are invited to share your wish if you’d like, but you are welcome to keep it to yourself as well.
We turn out the lamps, light a single taper candle and sit in the glow of the Christmas tree to cast our wishes out into the universe. This practice has made me come to believe that the act of declaring your hopes and dreams in the presence of people you love and who love you back is a powerful one.
This year we had six sets of candles to light, as a couple members of the extended family were at our house for the holidays. It was the first time they joined us in wishing. Initially I was a little worried that they would mock our practice, but they took to it with sincerity and hope. My sister half-complained that all the good world wishes are always taken when the taper comes to her, as she is always the youngest in the room. My dad said that there is absolutely no harm in lighting a second candle for peace and the practice of joy, and so she did.