Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Traditions: Of Love & Christmas (12/21)

December 21st
Tradition: What are your traditions of Christmas? Or Hanukkah, if that’s what you celebrate. Is there one thing that spans generations or your family or just in your life? 

This will be the fifth Christmas since my Grandma passed away and the sixth since we had Christmas with her last. So many of my Christmases and traditions involved her, but that was another time.

There are a few traditions that have followed my life.

One, my Dad has a little blue nightlight that he will plug in my bedroom and turn the light on Christmas eve. The theory was, if the light was off when I woke up in the morning it meant Santa Claus had come. The light was always off in the morning, even the last time I spent Christmas at home, when I was 29. 

Second, when I was a lot younger, my Dad started buying little house ornaments from Hallmark. They were on of the "collections." Each year, from about 1985, I'd get a new house for Christmas. When I was about 12 or 13, and I only had a few, I used them to be the "neighbors" for my gigantic dollhouse. Suddenly, when I was about 26 or 27, there were enough ornaments for my Mom to decorate the Christmas tree with only the houses. That's what she did this year, she said. [photo to come when I see it!] 

Now, as I look at these two, these are the only two traditions that continue to this day. But, there are others. 

There is the tradition that lasted for several years of my hometown Church holding a midnight service and we would sing Silent Night outside in front of the sanctuary. 

Then, there is the tradition when we would have Christmases with some family friends to watch a movie. 

For a long time, just after Thanksgiving, a package would arrive in the mail. It was a three foot piece of green felt with three golden rings tied to it, cascading in rows to the bottom. The dates were cut out in red felt. Each day, I'd have something new to open: a pencil, a dollar bill, a pair of socks, or maybe a piece of candy. 

Even still, another memory involves my Grandma taking me out onto the front porch to see if I could hear Santa Claus. She would bend slightly over with her arms around me, holding me close to keep me warm. Then, faintly, I'd hear, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" off in the distance. It wasn't until I was about 16... that I figured out how close Santa Claus was to my backyard. 

These are all memories that I'll be able to carry on into my own family, and one I'm already planning on passing along to my pseudo-nephew. Every child and every family needs a Christmas tradition that spans time, whether the people who helped make them happen aren't around anymore, or not. Sometimes, when we stop experiencing the tradition ourselves, it's time to pass it on to someone else. 

1 comment:

  1. What a nice surprise to have you show up on my blog this morning! :) Merry Christmas to you and yours and thanks for letting me know about your new blog! I'll put it on my Blogroll so as to be able to keep up with you in 2012.

    Ain't it grand what a difference a year (or a moment) can make :)


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