Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Importance of Traditions...

I grew up LOVING Christmas.

We had a wonderful tradition. On Christmas Eve, my dad’s entire family would congregate at my Grandparents house for a fabulous, yum-alicious potluck dinner, gift exchange, and famed original kids’ Christmas play. Naturally, I was the writer and producer of these plays. My cousins, sisters, and I would hunker down in Grandma’s spare bedroom downstairs and raid her drawers and closet for costumes and props. The script would be written on the fly, that night. Rehearsals were short. Themes changed every year. And we always had a blast! The play best remembered was “Christmas around the world”. My sister, to this day, still hasn’t lived down her version of the Russian kazatsky! Sooooo fun!

But, as time passed and we grew up…this tradition that I so very much loved as a kid, faded away. My parents kept the tradition in their own way. As my sisters and I grew up and started having kids, we started to gather at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve for more delicious potlucks and also a gift exchange. Our kids tried the play thing, but sadly it wasn’t a success for them. Still – we always had a great time.

An added bonus? All our spouses families generally tended to celebrate together on Christmas Day so we didn’t have to do that trade off thing – your family on odd years, my family on even. We enjoyed spending Christmas Eve or day with both families every year. It worked out great!

And I still love Christmas. I’ll have to admit, some of its magic for me has dimmed since my mom passed away. My dad remarried and things inevitably began to change (again). I can’t say for better or for worse. My new stepmom has some fabulous Christmas traditions of her own (or so I’ve heard), but the thing is….they aren’t the traditions I grew up with. They just aren’t MY traditions.

Last year, for the first time I can EVER remember, my family did not spend Christmas Eve together. And this year? Still up in the air. It’s sad to me. My sisters and I were talking about it the other day, what should we do? My dad and stepmom will be wrapped up in her Christmas Eve tradition a few hours away from where we all live. We’re invited of course, but… oh, ho, ho – those pesky, darn “buts”.

But, I’m going to do my best to “buck up” this Christmas. For me, I know something will work its way out eventually. I may be a little whiny now, but I’m not above creating a new tradition for my own little family that my daughter, hopefully, will look back on fondly and want to share with her own kids in the years to come. And I’ve at least got great memories, right? (consoling encouraged and appreciated…thanks)

My point is (yes, I do have one…kind of) TRADITIONS ROCK! I think they are an important part of life and if you can hold on to yours for a lifetime – even better! And if you can’t…make some great ones of your own and share them with the people you love.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?


Jess said...

I've got too many favorites to mention, but I'm really excited about a new one--roasted chesnuts!

I just bought some raw chestnuts at the store, and will be making a sample batch shortly. If they turn out to be nasty, I'm going to feel like I've been living a lie ("Chesnuts roasting on an open fire" is one of my favorite lines from all the Christmas songs), so here's to hoping they don't burn :)

Colene Murphy said...

Awe cute! Traditions are a MUST have. The hubs and I need to start one.
YEAY! Christmas!

Jess said...

UPDATE: I'm slightly disappointed in the roasted chesnuts. They have a weird texture *Sigh*

LeishaMaw said...

We always get together with my family on Christmas Eve, too. It's been a great tradtion. Thanks for bringing back a ton a awesome memories. :)

Beth said...

I don't think my family really had any traditions but my husband and I go to midnight mass every year and we like to take a nice trip for Christmas but it doesn't always happen.

Shayda Bakhshi said...

When our traditions started changing, it made me sad--first of all, I'm not a creature of change. But more than that, the traditions were changing because they keynote hosts of those traditions (Christmas Eve at the great-uncle/aunt's, etc.) were getting too old and tired to want to do those things. And that made me really weepy a few times.

But I think I've gotten to the point in my life now where traditions are meant to be MADE anew, and not clung to until it's no fun for everyone. My fiance and I are still a few [fiscal] years away from getting married and starting a family ['cause dang, we need money first!], but we're both really excited about starting our own Christmas traditions! :)

Elana Johnson said...

This is sad, to see cherished things pass away. You shall have to make some new traditions.

For me, I like to wear my pj's all day and watch movies and make scones.

Donea Lee said...

Thanks Jess, Colene and Elana! I replied to you via e-mail ~

Leisha - you're very welcome! Stirring up favorite memories can be so fun.

Beth - best of luck to you making Mass this year! I've never been to one, but think it would be an inspiring experience!

Shayda - I don't do change that well, myself. But, after posting this, my sisters and I did come up with a plan for this Christmas Eve so that we can spend it together.

I'm excited for the possibilities this new-ness will bring. And wish that you all enjoy whatever you have planned for Christmas this year - be it new or old! :)