Page Twenty-Five: Tradition.

I remember one year, in elementary school, we were supposed to write about our holiday traditions. And I was stumped because our family didn’t really have that many. I remember running from this grandma’s house to the other grandma’s house. Some years, holidays happened at our house and other years we went to relatives. That just seemed kind of hap-hazard, though. I didn’t think that we had any real tradition-traditions–not that I knew about, anyway.

One year, we walked into Grandma and Grandpa’s house (it’s starting to occur to me that maybe I shouldn’t say this on the internets but here goes nothing) and, as usual, we kids stared at the enormous (from a kid’s perspective) Christmas tree. But at the top, instead of the usual star or angel or whatever, there was a pair of black, lacey underpants. I did not ask about it, nor did anyone explain to this kid that someone had lost a bet and the loser had to top the tennenbaum with a pair of unders. I just pretended nothing was out of the ordinary and that my mind was not full of confusion. And since the grownups didn’t mention anything about it (I’m sure they did when the little ones were out of ear shot–I’m sure they found it hilarious and not at all confusing), I assumed this was something that was normal. Maybe they’d been there every year and it had just never noticed? After all, I was a little kid last year and a big kid this year. I figured to just play it cool and not ask. This is a method that I used a lot when I was younger. Don’t understand something? Pretend that you do until you do. For the record, you get a lot of things wrong utilizing this method.

So then this writing assignment came around in my Third Grade Class and, of course, I wrote about the traditional underpants on top of the Christmas tree! Apparently this was not an ordinary tradition in other peoples’ families… or even in my family!! I don’t think I have to tell you about the humiliation that befell my mother when I brought home that writing assignment. Or that we never saw any underpants at Christmas ever again, unless they came in a 6 pack from Santa.

For the past several Christmases, I’ve stayed at home by myself. Not exactly by myself, though. A few years ago I was joined by my friend/ neighbor. Later he was my boyfriend at my house at Christmas. And now we live together, making a life and our own traditions in our home and I’m thrilled and curious and happy.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I like it because it’s mostly ignored by retailers and because at the heart of it, taking 5 minutes out of a meal to express gratitude is a nice thought. Please don’t be one of those people on Facebook who posts something that you’re thankful for, every day in November, though. For starters, you’re only going to do it three times before you forget to keep going.  Be grateful, that’s wonderful! But write it down in your journal and ponder these things in your heart, where they will do the most good.

Also, and I realize this isn’t the case for everyone but since my boyfriend works for a school district and I work for an optometrist, we are pretty much guaranteed to get Thursday and Friday off of work. Which means that we get a long-long weekend. And that’s another reason to love Thanksgiving. I feel grateful and blessed to have this luxury that I know is not afforded to everyone. It’s like a vacation. But with snuggling in your own bed and going to restaurants that you’re used to and realizing that you haven’t left the house or worn a clean sweatshirt in several days.

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So what are our traditions going to be? I like the idea of having a non-food-related tradition, so early on we decided we’d put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day. I have to admit that it’s been a challenge to wait this long and I’m really excited about it. I’ve always been a big cheeseball about Christmas trees. They make me so happy!
We were sickly and lame, though, for the holidays and didn’t get the Christmas Tree set up on Thanksgiving day as planned. But it did happen, eventually with the incredible, Sleeping At Last Christmas album playing in the background. Better luck next year!

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Food-wise, though (not to be ignored). Due to lack of equipment, ambition, and necessity, I’ve never made a Turkey. This year (and last year, too, if I recall) we’re having meatloaf. I know, I know. I could just do a turkey breast? But, I mean. Meatloaf is delicious. We’re doing a lot of other things, too, but I’m mostly excited about making this cranberry pear sauce. Some people go pumpkin crazy this time of year. I go cranberry crazy. Aside from the fact that we sort of forgot to actually eat it on Thanksgiving day, I can see it easily becoming a tradition. Let me tell you about it.

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1 lb fresh cranberries, 1 peeled and chopped pear, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 t. vanilla extract, sprinkles of assorted spices (ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg) and a cinnamon stick.
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Cook down over medium heat, stirring regularly and mashing when able. Keep tasting. Add sugar as needed.

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I have questions for you.
At what point is a tradition created? Do you have to do it more than once for it to count or does doing it once with the intent to do it again count? Do you have traditions (or anticipated ones)? What are they/ why not? Do you have to have a family in order to be allowed to have traditions? As a single woman, I made a point to take my alone-time Christmas traditions just as seriously as if I had family all around me.

XOXO,
Lib

One thought on “Page Twenty-Five: Tradition.

  1. Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE!! My family has the most tradition surrounding Turkey Day. We go to Minnesota, where a bundle of relatives await (13 Aunts/Uncles, 18 cousins, 11 first cousins once removed, plus the immediate family with whom I travel)! Before my grandparents passed away a few years ago, we would always go to their house on Wednesday eve and eat Grandma’s Goulash. This tradition has been replaced with a Goulash Competition among family members. The next morning a handful of us wake up to run the streets of Minneapolis at the Turkey Day 5k. We get coffee afterwards, and then get ready for Turkey dinner! Dinner lasts last late – we usually make plans for Friday during the day, but not evening because we have another tradition: The Cousin Party and the Adult Party (aka the LAME party). When we were kids, the older cousins would always drive us all to the site of the Adult Party and we’d TP the house – or perform some similar shenanigan. Saturday is calm except the Holidazzle Parade in the evening, followed by pizza at someone’s house. Sunday is our drive back to Kansas… unless, of course we are lucky and get snowed in!! 🙂

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