Christmas is a season filled with tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t break tradition.

But families change. Kids grow up. Holidays are shared. Traditions (rules) might have to (wait for it)…change.

What does this have to do with quilting?

I always took pride in our Christmas traditions. There were certain categories of gifts and each had to be filled. Certain music had to be played…movies watched, cookies baked, old recipes fixed. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.

A few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? Not red and green? It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace the idea…to throw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window.

Last year I realized that the beloved tradition I’d started at our old house of making St. Lucia Bread, hadn’t risen properly one time at our new house – ten years in a row! (I’d tried all the yeast tricks, too.)

Side note: the tradition started when our girls would dress up like their Kristen (American Girl) dolls in their white gowns with their St. Lucia crowns to serve us some coffee-like substance and “cookies” on Christmas morning – it was adorable!

I wouldn’t use my red and green Christmas quilts anymore – and I had to make new ones with all the pretty blues!

I think a lot of people embraced the blue Christmas – for one or two seasons…but for me it was a NEW tradition!

My original “JOY” quilt pattern was made using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. But, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I had to make this blue one – from both sides of a beautiful, aqua Hoffman panel! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

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Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together, we are considering changing more Christmas traditions this year. We are brainstorming about how to make our time fun and meaningful. What’s interesting is that the more we talk about setting aside our old traditions (rules), the more creative we have become in our brainstorming. It’s as if a weight is being lifted.

Seriously, how is this post about quilting?

When I first started quilting, I was all about the rules (traditions). I wanted to learn every single one of them. Some were paramount to good technique and skill-building and very important. Others were just plain silly. I didn’t realize the difference until the day a wise quilter suggested that rules were meant to be broken.

It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules, not realizing that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.

I’ve noticed now that I watch for the rule-breakers in quilting. Their work excites and inspires me, regardless if the technique is traditional or contemporary.

If you know me personally, you know I embrace tradition. If you are familiar with Lutherans, I am a “page 5 of the old, OLD hymnal” kind of gal!

Don’t let your need for tradition RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.

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