Traditions

I sing that word like a member of the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof. A tone-deaf one.

Christmas is a time for traditions. Both keeping and breaking them can be fun! So take a little time to reflect in the post eggnog and ham glow.

When I was a little girl, my grandparents had a Christmas Eve open house. Friends and neighbors stopped by and feasted on everything from ham and green beans to two of my favorite foods, mincemeat pie and “pink stuff”, which was my name for the Jell-O salad with fruit cocktail and cottage cheese. After everyone left, we opened gifts with my grandparents and often aunts and uncles.gret1012158

Christmas morning was the four of us with my little sister and me averting our eyes as we passed the living room to Mom and Dad’s bedroom. For the longest time, I believed the gifts would disappear if we spied the bounty Santa left before Mom and Dad joined us. Afterward, we’d go to my other grandparents’ house for more gifts and dinner.

Over the years, our traditions changed. Grandparents spent Christmases with other cousins, we went to Colorado for a ski vacation, and eventually I grew up and moved out of state. Now only my grandfather is living and my sister and I have our own families. But we still get together the years we travel to Indiana.

After marriage, “nontraditional” became a better word for our Christmases that have spanned from the idyllic holidays with family in Indiana to a fantasy Christmas in Disneyland. During our marriage, my husband and I get a live tree when we will be home and don’t put one up if we’re out of town. This year would have been treeless, but the kids insisted. We had a pre-lit we’d never used, so up it went. And it’s unanimous—we needed a tree.

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There are traditions we have observed over the years. And to me, they’re what define the holiday. Tree or no tree, I have always put up a nativity scene. In my first apartment, the set was a $10 Big Lots purchase. After we were married, it’s the beautiful, hand painted set we got as a wedding gift from dear family friends. Attending Christmas Eve service is the other tradition my husband and I have celebrated nearly every year. Both of these celebrate the coming of the Christ child, the true meaning of Christmas.

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What are some of your Christmas traditions?

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3 thoughts on “Traditions

  1. Hmm, my family always had Belgian waffles with strawberries & whipped cream for breakfast. My parents still do that. I want to get a waffle iron so we can carry on the tradition. And gift-opening has always been a routine – one at a time, with the previous opener picking out the gift to be opened for the next person. I like that so everyone can appreciate the gifts and thoughts behind them.

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  2. MMM Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. I’m with you. One gift at time is the way I like to open gifts too.

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  3. Our Christmas tradition is to open one gift the night before that is usually a game to be played Christmas eve. This year the game was ‘Horseopoly’ and the my husband won with his many barns and hay bales on his groups of horses. We often will watch the Christmas Carol, or, when we’re organized, go to Christmas Eve service. This year we had lobster for dinner, so we smelled a bit fishy after we’d cracked open all the shells. So we elected to keep ourselves home from the service and play the game!

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