Starting A Christmas Tradition
It is getting to be that time of year again. The halls are decked, the mistletoe is hung, and I am getting ready to drink way to much eggnog. Yep, Christmas time is upon us again. If your family is anything like mine than you are familiar with some form of Christmas tradition. These traditions are each different. Some families simply gather and share a good meal and remember great times from the past, others open presents under a tree, while even others simply use the day to reflect on the past year.
I feel tradition on the holidays is vital for a person to gain spiritual and emotional growth. For me the holidays have always been about family and friends and spending time together. I would like to share some of my traditions with you. Who knows, maybe you will do the same with me, or at the very least adapt a few of mine to your yearly routine.
My family are crazy about the films and programs being ran during the holiday season. Charlie Brown's face appears on my grandma's TV set so much you almost start to feel like he is part of the family. The favorites are still the classic claymation Rudolph, Frosty and Jack Frost. Every year while watching these films you will almost guarantee that you will hear me say "I don't want to make toys, I want to be a dentist." and from across the room my cousin will answer "no one wants a cowboy who rides an ostrich."
Watching movies with the family is a great way to unwind but it is also a great way to spend quality time with your family. The wholesome Christmas time films are great for that. While I am a stickler for the classic claymation my father and aunt will be driving the rest of the family nuts. There will be a 24 hour marathon of " The Christmas Story" and you can rest assured my father and aunt will watch 12 of them at the least. Dad will constantly tell me "you will shoot your eye out" while my aunt calls everyone Ralphie.
Mom on the other hand has an addiction to the pre-Michael Macaulay Culkin movie "Home Alone". Despite seeing it a million times she still laughs so hard her side hurts and in honesty I love to see my mom laugh. Even though the films brought us together it is the stuff that goes on outside the screen that really matters. The laughter and the fun all make for great memories. If you have never had a family movie night I strongly suggest you try it. It is a great way to really get that family love.
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As Christmas Eve approaches the warm smell of apple pie, and sweet Christmas ham. We all know that on Christmas day we will tear into Mamaw's sweet treats and enjoy an amazing meal with our family and friends but it is not the meal that makes this tradition so special. It is the stories. Every year we reminisce about years that have passed. Some stories are hilarious like the time I thought I captured one of Santa's Reindeer when in all honesty I had tossed a clothes hamper over the neihbor's greyhound.
We talk about things like when the family basically all played musical instruments and it was like the Darlings of Andy Griffith fame, or the time my cousin tried to be a marine and I tried to train with him and nearly killed myself trying to outdo a drill Sergent. These stories are always ones we have told and heard a million times and if I had it my way I would love to hear each and everyone of them a million more.
I am not saying the dinner is not to die for. It is always great and there is always plenty to go around. The memories of the food usually pass within a week or two but those memories we develop with each other last a lifetime.
I have the honor of being on a fire department with my dad and several great friends. Every year we do a Christmas parade for the community. This parade goes by pretty quick and as far as parades go there really is not to much to see. What makes it so special is that we get to spend that time together. I get to be with my dad and mom a lot as we work toward making the parade a success.
It is always good to have memories with one's family on the holidays but sometimes we need to give and take memories with others. I still remember each face that smiles back as I toss a handful of candy out to their open little hands. It is giving holiday cheer to someone else that really drives the parade.
On the same note we give toys to the community. Dad and myself always buy extra and collect used toys from people throughout the year and on the day we give to the community we pick one of two families who are in need and we deliver the toys complete with Santa Clause and elves. I live for the smiles and hugs that follow.
Start Your Own Tradition
It may seem odd to carry out some ritual on the holiest of days but why not try it? Sit down during the holidays and play cards with your family or pop in a cheesy Christmas movie. The memories that may follow could carry on through decades and pass through generations. Remember we only have a set number of days with each of our loved ones so make them count. I remember every Christmas I shared with those of my family who have gone on and I wish very much that I could have a few more.
Traditions don't have to be complex or extravagant. They can be as simple as a walk or even as calming as a bedtime story. They may seem mundane at times or even in some cases seem like they are irrelevant but one day you will look back on them and wish you could live them one more time. Happy holidays and merry Christmas to everyone.