traditions. they can be serious, irritating, humorous, embarrassing and sometimes absolutely, devastatingly, wonderful.
traditions are all-encompassing right now. this time of year is more about tradition than it is anything else. think about it. the food, the shopping, the gifts, the greeting cards, the packing everyone in the car to go to the relatives in less than ideal weather. why would we spend the time and bone aching energy on all of these things, unless there was something as concrete as “tradition” involved?
i love seasonal traditions. i watch the same holiday movies every year. why? because i’ve always watched them. (and some of “their” traditions make mine seem so sedate.) my mother still hangs my homemade ornaments on her tree every year. why? (okay, maybe they were brilliantly done considering i was in 2nd grade.) it’s a tradition. i painstakingly pick out cards individually chosen for each of my relatives and address them in caligraphy. why? okay, i don’t do that, but if i did it would be for tradition. even the “rules” of christmas are all traditions. cookies and milk for santa, reading “twas the night before christmas”, hanging stockings up; everything is always the same. i think that’s why i spend so much time struggling against the rude customers, and angry drivers, and all of those people who try to ruin this season for so many of us every year. i want to overcome all of that so that i can enjoy the feelings that those traditions always bring. the feeling of security. the feeling of solidarity. the feeling that at any moment i could step back in time and remember all of those same traditions from my childhood.
my family is a little odd. our traditions were somewhat normal, but never quite the same as every one else’s. we watch george c. scott portray ebeneezer scrooge every year, but we can also quote every line in “national lampoon’s christmas vacation”. we have a turkey and mashed potatoes and the table is set beautifully, but, on a small plate in the middle is a can of cranberry “sauce” that is still in the shape of the can. we’ve always celebrated thanksgiving on a saturday and made certain that my brother’s birthday was never overshadowed by christmas. (he and jesus were apparently born on the same day.) mostly however, we celebrate these holidays like everyone else. we’re happy to see each other, eat a lot of food, exchange presents, exchange words, have the same old arguments and finally all of the men are asleep in front of the television.
aren’t they wonderful?