Daily Archives: November 15, 2010

Changing Traditions

What is My Most Non-Traditional Holiday Tradition?

This question has me seriously stumped. I’ve always thought of a tradition as being some practice or custom passed down through generations. Rituals of long standing. Conventions particular to beliefs which are deeply important and therefore should not be altered.

Well, big fail for me and my immediate family if there’s supposed to be some kind of continuity in how we celebrate holidays. We’re doing well if a ‘tradition’ lasts more than a couple of years in a row.

The only consistent thing I can think of that our family has ever done is to have ridiculously huge meals to celebrate occasions. Although there’s often no rhyme or reason to when or where or who gets invited.

When we were growing up we rarely celebrated Christmas or birthdays on the exact calendar day. Mom would arrange a date based on everyone’s convenience and ability to attend. (My birthday dinner was likely to happen some day or other in May. Early or late, it was no big deal, and often shared with someone else whose special day was however remotely close.)

Our Christmas dinner might just as easily be on the 20th of December as the 30th. Or maybe even the first Sunday in January if that’s when it suited people. When I met W. and discovered that his family observed their Christmas eve on the 24th of December each and every year no matter what I thought he must be joking, but he was dead serious about how it should be done.

So our kids celebrated on the exact proper day until they were off on their own and figuring out their own traditions. One of which, surprisingly enough, has become to pick a convenient day for “Christmas” (usually a few days early) so that there is more “after Christmas” time to spend with family (playing with new toys) before they have to head home and go back to work.

I’ve come to think of the random-day festivities as a tribute to my mom. So maybe our odd tradition is being basically traditionless, flying by the seat of our collective pants and making up the rules as we go along. It’s kind of fun to have a holiday looming and no set plan in place, no hundred and one things that you MUST get done by the dreaded deadline.

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