a little on holiday tradition

All families, from the insanely dysfunctional to the Ozzie & Harriet’s, seem to have their very own holiday traditions.  Some folks insist on getting that perfect tree precisely the day after Thanksgiving while others simply MUST have a Christmas roast instead of ham.  Maybe Grandpa had to have sausage at Thanksgiving instead of Turkey or your crazy aunt ALWAYS gave you a pristine five-dollar bill for Christmas.  They range from sweet and simple to sublimely traditional to purely whacky.  No matter what they are, there is something about these customs  – passing down treasures, knowledge, stories – that binds us together.  Even if only once a year.

There remains something special (yes even today) about the Holiday season that brings out the good stuff in (most) people.  Rummaging through boxes and bags of Christmas decorations always brings about hours of stories in my family.  Whether it’s that one brightly colored, ceramic ornament from the trip to New Mexico or the sad, sad, little mouse we put on the bottom for the cats to play with (and about a dozen cats over the years have played with it) – almost every ornament, every bead, every bauble has a story – a moment to cherish.  A moment WE cherish.

This time of year people always manage to reconnect, even as we fill our calendars with parties and shopping and strolling and caroling (yes, people still do that!).  It’s a time for endless amounts of pie, playing games and doing puzzles, sipping cocoa engorged with marshmallows, cuddling and watching (yes, actually watching) the fire, taking long, pointless walks and surrounding ourselves with people and things we love.  It smells of maple syrup and pine trees and tastes like cinnamon and sugar cookies.

These few weeks of joy (yes I do believe in the overall goodness of man and JOY) give us pause.  We reflect on the year and those lessons we learned or those mistakes we made.  We make tiny promises to ourselves and loved ones of change and resolution.  We give large amounts of thanks and blessings.  We eat and drink.  We are, in fact, merry.

I’ve asked around and compiled some Holiday traditions from friends.  Please feel free to add yours in the Comments section below.  I’ll be adding more as I receive them.  Happy Holidays!

“My family always does a treasure hunt.  4 little gifts hidden around house and mom writes clues entirely from Shakespeare…My dad would tell us on Christmas Eve to put our shoes in the hallway and the leprechauns would fill them with candy. We bought it.”

– IDreamedISaw@Twitter

“After a day spent doing all the regular family stuff, my parents, sister and I go to a movie on Christmas night!”

 – Jodi, Washington DC

“On Thanksgiving we all stand in a circle and say what we are thankful for while holding hands and then the kids say grace.” 

– Susannah, Venice FL

When we were kids, being Jewish in Maine meant getting Chinese food on Christmas Eve (used to be the only restaraunts open) and then skiing on Christmas day: always the least crowded day of the year and always an easy way to find the few other fellow Jewish folks in Maine.

-Joanna, Washington DC 

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