Sunday, November 22, 2009

Traditionally untraditional

Ho, ho, ho, and falalalala abound no matter where I turn.  Santa made his arrival at the mall yesterday. I thought the old, jolly fat man wasn't allowed to make an appearance prior to Black Friday.  Economic strain has overridden tradition, I guess.  Christmas parades are commencing a week early, too. Once again my holiday equilibrium is thrown off.

Growing up, our household traditions were upheld by Mom. We always turned to her to keep the season merry and bright.  When she passed away after a short battle with cancer, nothing was the same. It was enough to attempt to pull ourselves together emotionally let alone try to carry on the traditions that Mom made so perfect. Those traditions couldn't be carried out if she wasn't there to execute them.

As I've matured and built a household of my own, I've been incapable of duplicating the spirit that Mom embodied.  When I was married and had a newborn child, the hope of creating our own traditions filled me with such elation.  What ensued was decorating a tree, mostly by myself, while listening to Christmas tunes. Mancub has never been giddy with excitement over decorating a tree. In spite of my efforts to create tradition, we're lacking in having year in and year out expectations.  Maybe in turn Mancub won't have a major adjustment when he sets out into adulthood. Perhaps when he is with a significant other he won't impose upon them "my Mom always ..." sort of situations that lead to argument and holiday stress.

Please don't let any of this imply that I'm a Scrooge.  Indifference is really what this time of year evokes within me.  Besides, Scrooge had tons of dough. He was just stingy with it.  I'm broke.

Do you have traditions that you absolutely cannot live without? Did you start it or is a carry over from childhood or handed down from generation to generation?  I'd love to learn what puts the cherry on your holiday sundae.


  1. My family "thing" is ornaments. I have ornaments I had as a child and each of my kids gets an ornament for Christmas. Usually I buy them the year after for half price at Halmark so the following year they see their new ornament. Even my grown kids like to come over and hang their ornaments. Of course my plan was that my grown kids would take their ornaments with them when they moved out but that didn't happen. Hey, I'm adaptable.

  2. Carol, thank you for sharing. That's really wonderful

  3. Traditions.... there are certain movies that absolutely must be watched. Christmas isn't Christmas without all the traditional movies. The usual culprits, of course, It's A wonderful Life and so on, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but also The Sound Of Music, The Great Escape, and Raymond Briggs' "The Snowman"... and of course the Christmas dinner has to include Roast Potatoes, Roast Parsnips and Bread Sauce. It doesn't feel right without them. We have to all open ONE present on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas morning. We take it in turns. When I was growing up we used to play party games too, like Charades, and I keep trying year agter year to get people enthused about it. The kids kinda get into it, but the grownups not so much. And I have to make cookies. I have to have my one baking day.

  4. One of our Christmas family traditions was started by my Great~Grandma. We bake individual loaves of ``Swedish Limpa Bread`` (Christmas Bread) -- one for everybody at the table. & a small plastic Santa gets baked into one ``special loaf``...

    Who ever gets the Santa wins a gift... usually a gift certificate to Carson Pirie Scott or some department store. That's always something to look forward to but one has to be careful not to chip a tooth.

  5. Jeff, I'm a must view movie person, too. The best was getting to see "It's a Wonderful Life" on the big screen 4 years ago. Truly magnificent. I'd never cried watching that movie, but when viewing George really losing it on Martini's Bar -- whoa.

    CAT!!! You're the first person outside of my family to ever utter the words "Swedish Limpa Bread" -- My Dad made it for nearly every holiday. When he passed away so went the tradition. No one has attempted to make it out of fear that it would never live up to his version. He got a recipe when he was in the Navy and then Rapierized it over the years.
    I knew we had a deeper cosmic connection :)

  6. Every tradition must come to an end. It is impossible for a tradition to remain a tradition. Whether it is a death of the glue that binds, or a insensitive spouse, or, the end of a marriage. It ends. Since my divorce, I have increasingly lost out on those things that I put in place. I have seen what pb&j tastes like as a Christmas dinner, Christmas chicken nuggets at Denny's. The one thing that remained was my Christmas Eve with my kiddos. But, because of family growth and change, my this year's Christmas Eve will depart from tradition again. I, like you will rejoice that I have had. I will always remember the first Christmas Eve after Momma died...driving down Evergreen, coming to the slight curve in the road, and knowing the house set lonely, no smells, no sounds,...I cannot imagine how painful it was for Daddy. All I could do was cry. Amanda and I drove back the farm house, alone...I held her until she fell asleep in my arms, and waited for Santa...


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