My Favorite Christmas Traditions

We all have those holiday traditions. And through the years, some change and some keep going. This year is a mixture of both. As my life changes, so do the traditions. A bit untraditional maybe, but I am very much getting rid of old baggage and things not needed. Some traditions may need to be taken out. I decided way back in June that this was the year to grab onto the new and trash what is not needed of the old. Traditions do give us  and consistency in an ever-changing landscape of life. But sometimes it is good to make new traditions, and new memories. And the nominees are:

The Christmas Tree: Every year I have friends and family help put it up. This year is not different, with cheesy Christmas music playing and the eggnog flowing, it is a tradition that must be kept. And my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree? Yes that is staying too, even though many have said I need a better tree. And, in keeping with my tradition, I may just let this years tree stay up past Easter. Again. After all, it is tradition!

The Date:  I typically avoid dating during the holidays. Like the plaque. If I am not already dating someone by the Beginning of November (possibly early October) I typically do not date until after the new year.  This tradition gets rid of the “I don’t want to be alone during the holidays” boys, and the awkward “What do I get someone I have only been dating a month” Christmas gift exchange. This tradition needs to go, obviously. And I am enjoying this year and shopping, which is a very pleasant surprise.

The Mistletoe: This tradition simply needs to be altered a bit. Even thought I do not normally date anyone during the holidays, I do usually engage in some holiday mischief. I hang up mistletoe and insist any man who crosses my threshold must kiss me. This year, that will not be the case, though I do plan to have the same amount of kisses, if not more, under the mistletoe.

The Cheesy Christmas Music: Blasting all the Christmas Carols I can in my car and house is a must. From Celine Dion, to Wilson Philips to Michael Bolton…the cheesier the better. This tradition stays. period.

The Stocking Shuffle: Every year, Christmas Eve, we sneak around each other and put “things” in the stockings. We are so Sneaky, we are Neaky…the S is silent (just an example of how cheesy things can get, and yes you can quote me). They are not expensive, could be pencils, candy and cute hand puzzles, but they are tiny little things that are given for the pure pleasure and enjoyment of it.  Every year my sis brings the stockings to my parents house, along with their hangers, and they are hung by the chimney with care. Yes, this tradition stays.

The Shopping: This defiantly gets changed this year. Usually shopping is done early, except for maybe a few last-minute gifts. This year, the holidays snuck up on me and I have not even started shopping. I may even have to go into a mall this year, which is something that I do try to avoid in a big city around Christmas. Pray for me.

The Socks: Every year, for over 20 years now, I give my father socks. This is more than a tradition, it is a requirement.  When I was about 15, the style was to wear the big, bulky socks. Well, I just went into my fathers sock drawer and took them. This went on for months when my mother finally came to me and said that my father thought is was sweet that I stole his socks, but he was running out. So, would I mind replacing them every now and then? And the tradition was started, that every gift giving opportunity, whether Father’s Day, birthday, anniversary, Christmas, whatever, he was given socks along with his regular gifts. And I still steal mens socks (as all boyfriends know).

The Pictures: Every year I am the photographer for the family.  I don’t see this changing, though I may have some competition as other family members are also very good at snapping those great candid shots.

Monopoly: Growing up, every year my sister and I would get up at the crack of dawn (5am) and play monopoly until 6am. Thenwe would sneak out, and look in or stockings (something we were not supposed to do). We then went back to playing Monopoly until 7, when we were allowed to wake our parents up and start ripping into the gifts. While sis and I have not done this in many, many years, we still have very fond memories.

Decorating Mom’s Tree:  Yes, it is a fake tree. Mom has put up a fake tree since the “Live Tree Incident of 1971’ish”. Mom and Dad were married and put up their first live tree. They had a disagreement about who should take it down – Dad, because it was the man’s job since Mom put it up, or Mom, because she was in charge of the interior of the house. Needless to say, with both my parents being just a tad stubborn, the live tree stayed up until they moved the next April…after it had long died and all of the little needles had all fallen off. Now we do fake trees.

This has been a family tradition every year since I was a child.  And Mom putting up the tree has always been a huge deal. It took Mom several days to put up the tree, shape the branches, and string the lights from the inside of the tree onto each one of the 2,000 tips. Then there are all the ornaments she has been collecting for 30 years. We each get our favorite ones and hang them on the tree. Oh, and the Snitch Baskets – little baskets full of candy that you have to sneak to eat. The tradition has been modified a bit, it is now a prelit tree to help save time and Mom’s back.

The Dinner: This will always be a tradition.  Mom, or one of us girls, cooks a wonderful Christmas dinner. It is usually Polynesian (or however it is spelled) ham. I tried to make it one year, but used too many whole cloves and it turned out to be…less than appetizing. I leave it to the experts, namely my mother, now. There are green beans and corn, and casseroles, and too many wonderful things to even be able to eat.  Then there are all the baked goods. Mom’s traditional Candied peanuts, which everyone goes crazy for. And the Pecan Kisses, than every one loves. Then there is the banana bread, pumpkin bread, sour dough bread. And the fantasy fudge and cheesecakes. YUM!

The Nap: It happens every year, it is just a bet to see who is the first one to fall.  We all end up falling and curling up in a bed, or on one of the world-famous, so comfortable you fall asleep on them couches, and nap. Happy, wonderful deep napping. OK, that tradition isn’t going anywhere either.

There are other new traditions I hope to start this year as well, but I don’t want to give those away yet, I want to savor them first. And these are my favorite Christmas tradtions.


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