Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday is "Tradition" Day

I'm diggin' this guest blogger deal. Happy Wednesday and Merry Christmas!
I'm b.e.g. and Samantha has asked me to do a guest post for her Educational Wednesday, but I'd like to put a spin on it and talk about family traditions for the holidays. Tradition, from Merriam-Webster Dictionary is defined as:

Tradition (noun): an inherited, customary, or established pattern of thought, action, or behavior.
That can mean a whole heck of a lot. And there's likely to be a lot of variation dependent upon each individual, their family, their extended family, the area in which they hail from (Sooners or Cowboys, North or South, you tell me!!), and their cultural backgrounds. For me?

My family is big on tradition. We go to Disney for every family vacation. It's tradition. The birthday person picks the restaurant. It's tradition. We have cherry pie on Father's Day. It's tradition. We have three kinds of stuffing for Thanksgiving. It's tradition. We sing "Hakuna Matana" as we enter the pink and purple entrance gates to Disney World. It's tradition.

Christmas also involves many a tradition. We have Santa hats, mine is the one with the puffiest white ball of cotton on the end of it, my mother's is the flattest velour you've ever seen in your life, Carson Cressly beware! We wear the Santa hats when we open presents, it's tradition!

The weekend before Christmas is the most hellacious tradition in our household. The cookies. Oh yes, cookies. My mother has amassed several recipes, she enjoys making everyone's favorite cookies, adding different varieties, recipes, and versions of the cookies every year, in her attempts to please everyone's taste buds! When my younger sister and I were kids, my father would take us to our Grandmother's house for the weekend. This three-day baking fiasco would not leave my mother in a good mood and he had good sense to know that. It was tradition!

As we got older, we stayed home, but our father filled the weekend with trips, movies, friends, and other outings. When we returned home, it was a treat to taste the cookies that had been made and try to steal nibs from the dough chilling in the fridge. If we were real good, we'd be allowed to frost sugar cookies with my mother. It was tradition! Now it's tradition to stay out of the kitchen when it's Christmas Cookie Baking Time. So serious it deserves capital letters!

On Christmas morning, it's tradition to wait until the adults have had their coffee to open gifts. Now we're all old enough, we all have a cup of coffee together as we open gifts. That's new tradition.

We open my sister's gifts to my parents and myself, as well as my gifts to my parents and my sisters first. That's tradition. Then we open the remainder of the presents.

Now with my sister's fiance and my husband in the picture, it's teaching them about our traditions. My sister's fiance doesn't come from a big gift-giving family. Last year he was angry and upset with how much money my mother spent on him. She told him to get over it because it's not stopping. It's tradition! My husband's family goes around in a circle and one person opens a gift at a time. He said he liked our "have at it" attitude towards the big gifts and marveled over our intense pleasure and camaraderie as we opened our stocking stuffers.

Christmas food is a big tradition. We have ham strata (layers of buttered bread, ham, and cheddar cheese, with egg and milk soaked in overnight, baked in the morning and served with warm maple syrup from Vermont, we are New Englanders, after all!) and more coffee. This year, we have ham strata with homemade bread because of my soy allergy. Tradition stands steady in the face of allergies. No one wanted to let go of the ham strata.

Nor do we let go of our sausage bread, pepperoni bread, or shrimp cocktail. Sometimes we have spiked eggnog, now that we're all of drinking age, right? It's tradition!

Next year my husband and I will be hosting Christmas at our place. It will not be the same as coming down those stairs from the bedroom and quietly gasping in awe of the blanket of presents under the tree. Rather, it will be the site of new traditions, new stories to tell, new customs, new ways of thinking (and eating!), and engaging with one another. That's the nice thing about traditions, families come together and merge and create new traditions wherever they go.

That's just my little family of six, just a few of our traditions, what are some of your family traditions?


Kristin said...

I just love Christmas traditions. That's what our planned post for tomorrow is! It's our little dude's second Christmas this year and I'm so psyched to read the Night Before Christmas to him like my Mom always did for us!

brown eyed girl said...

Haha thanks for having me post! :)


Bagel Boy said...

You must have great Christmas mornings! Nice post

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Hi y'all! The name's Samantha. You can call me Sam if you like. I am a lover to a boy I met at Falls Creek in the summer of 2005, that is a student of Jesus, a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I'll be Sooner dead, Democrat by party, blonde to the core, and oldies but goodies kind of girl.
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