...because we all have our motley moments!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Unconventional, yet Traditional...

At our MOPS meeting this week we were asked to talk about our family traditions. After a week of holiday stress and battling illness in our home, I sourly thought as I arrived that it appears that my holiday tradition is to overextend myself and make myself sick in the process. Now, I know most of you are probably playing some delightful music on your "world's smallest violins" for me because we all tend to do too much at this time of year, but after I really reflected on it, I do tend to get sick every year by the time I reach my parents' home for the first round of holiday visits, and usually it is following a month of mega-baking, mega-decorating, and mega-celebrating. So, indeed, I think I can safely say that I have created a tradition for myself. Not a great one, but a tradition nonetheless.

And that brings to mind many other things that my family and I do every year that aren't exactly what one would see on the pages of a Christmas magazine. These are things that have simply happened along the way, yet they have managed to ingrain themselves into the patchwork of our experience. These are the accidental family favorites that make us real, and in some cases, they are the "favorite things" that we recall from year to year.

For example, years ago my parents started celebrating Christmas with my sister and me on Christmas Eve. This was a decision based on us no longer believing our gifts were "delivered" on Christmas morning and the fact that we started our Christmas day family gatherings early, thus leaving little time for our own festivities. When we made the switch to the Eve, we also decided to go a step further--since then, we have eaten a non-traditional Christmas Dinner of Pizza Hut Pizza on every December 24th. It has to be Pizza Hut, and it must be the "pan" variety. Bread sticks must also be involved for it to truly be Christmas Eve Dinner. We drink Goldenrod-brand Boiled Custard, and we exchange gifts when dinner is finished. One year someone actually suggested that we make pizza at home instead of ordering it. That suggestion was swiftly denied. Sorry, Pizza Hut is our tradition (and, well, it's the only time of the year that I can actually allow myself to enjoy every bite of that butter-soaked crust).

A version of this tradition has now become a part my little family--we visit our parents in other states during Christmas, so my husband, son, and I have begun celebrating our personal holiday on New Year's Eve. What's on the menu? Spaghetti with ground beef and jarred sauce. And as much buttery garlic bread as we want. Simple, um, pretty fattening, but delicious.

So, what do you do? What makes your holiday celebration unique?


Karly said...

I think I may have shared this before...My parents hid all of our presents around the house on Christmas morning. Prior to this tradition, the four of us kids would run downstairs tear open all of presents and it would be over in less than five minutes. Once we started doing the present search...first we had to find ours, then we could help others find their, then we had to take turns opening each present in different order each time (youngest to oldest, tallest to shortest, birthdays, etc.) This stretched out the process and made it very special for all of us. I think I am going to do this with my children year. They love to play hide and seek!

Our other tradition is to travel to Florida or Minnesota to visit our families for Christmas each year. Prior to this, I do the "mega-baking, mega-decorating, mega-shopping, mege-celebrating" that you described Rachel. Last year, as we were boarding the plane to go to Minnesota for Christmas, my husband said "Is it still Christmas? I feel like we have been celebrating Christmas forever."

What can I say --I am a Christmas Junkie!!

Bryssy said...

I love your traditions, Rachel. As much as I would love to say I make every thing like Martha or June Cleaver, we like jarred red sauce the best, too!

Bryssy said...

And I think Sandra Lee has made "semi-homemade" just fine. Plus, I say that anything you heat on your own stove (or microwave) should be considered homemade.

Jason and Fawnda said...

As I was reading your post I thought of my Cousin who one year said to my mom "oh Kim- I can't wait until we are at you house and we can eat the cheese ball, we have to have a cheese ball, it is tradition!" My mom thought to herself..."Did we have a cheese-ball last year??... I didn't know it was tradition?!?! I better go and get one!" It is funny how different people pick on different things as traditions.
I also LOVED the hide-n-seek present hunting that Karly mentioned above... it made Christmas last for longer! I can't wait for my "little king" to be old enough to look for his!