My Familys (non)Traditions

My Family’s (non)Traditions

Over the last five years I’ve decided that if a tradition isn’t working – pick a new one!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays that my family “struggles” with traditions – meaning that in the past there has been a tension between what the tradition “should” be and what really works for us.

I’ve come to the conclusion that family traditions are extremely important – and you need to make your traditions yours. Adopting somebody else’s just isn’t the same.

The first year after my husband passed away, we decided that we really didn’t want to spend Christmas at home. Too many memories. So, we spent the holiday with my mom and dad in Florida. It was very nice (and warm). But it wasn’t home. It was my kids’ first Christmas “without Dad”, they didn’t need to escape – they needed Christmas at home. We have spent Christmas at home every year since – but it hasn’t looked the way that it did.

The next Thanksgiving (the second one without Dad) was the big change in tradition. For years, we had gone to my brother’s home for Thanksgiving Day and I planned on that again. Just a few days before the holiday, I called to find out what I could bring. After a couple of stalls, I was told that everybody was spending this Thanksgiving with their in-laws. Golly – that stung.

I felt totally alone – I didn’t have in-laws to spend the holiday with. So, I made an “executive decision” to just stay home. A dear friend put it this way: I could either decided to make do with what was left of my family – or we could go on because this is our family. The first Thanksgiving I did the whole big dinner thing – for 3 of us. Oh, there was so much food! And in the afternoon (NO football at my house) we rented movies and had a marathon. It was right before the third LOTR came out and I had not seen the first 2 – so on Thanksgiving Day we got me caught up.

Every year since, we have turned down invitations – Thanksgiving is a family time. Our family time. This year, we did spend it with my sister-in-laws. But the rule was – we had to have a movie marathon. It really works for us and (at this point) we have no intention of changing it.

This year, for Christmas, we don’t have a tree up yet (it’s in the basement, in a box). We all have final exams for college next week, I should be (at this moment) working on that research paper.

The new tradition is friends and fun. My kids have friends in families that don’t seem to “get it”. Last year, three teenagers left their families before noon on Christmas Day to come to our house. One of them had been removed from his home and placed with his sister. His birthday is Christmas Day – and they forgot. This boy turned 16 on Christmas Day and came to my house. He cried when I made a birthday cake.

Don’t get me wrong – glitz and ribbon and ornaments and stars and all that “stuff” is nice. This year I went to the mall for that.

It’s the people that should be the outstanding tradition.

Since I’ve been a widow, I’ve had lonely times around the holidays. Most single folks do.

But I’ve also seen that there are people – in my life, kids – that are a lot worse off.

Christmas this year? Church service in the morning, and then I expect some extra teenagers for movies, video games and frozen pizza.

It’s the people.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments links could be nofollow free.