Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Good Christmas Buzz

I have been thinking allot about family traditions
lately. I don’t think that my son
could name anything in particular that we do as a family that would qualify as
a tradition. This is something that I
would like to work on. In an effort to
make myself feel better, I sat down and tried to make a list of potential
family traditions. It seemed silly at
first because the very thought of concocting a family ritual seems to go
against everything that traditions stand for. Family rituals should not be invented. They should come about naturally. I thought about what traditions stood out most about my childhood, the
holidays in particular. The first thing
that popped into my mind was the fact that Christmas morning was the only time,
throughout the entire year, that my childhood dog, Ruffy, was permitted to
enter the formal living room. This may
seem silly and inconsequential to most, but it certainly was neither of those things to
my brother and I. I remember vividly
waking up Christmas morning and immediately ushering Ruffy into the living room
with pomp and circumstance. We looked forward to that
part of Christmas. It was part of what
made the holiday special for our family.

I try to think about what traditions that my fledgling
family has and, thus far, I come up short. We go to the light parade in our town the first Saturday in December
every year. This doesn’t count, though,
because a true family tradition should be free of any geographical
barriers. If we moved, that tradition
would obviously go down the tubes. We
try to go against the grain and have fondue for our Christmas dinner every
year. This is, probably, our best
tradition yet. My parents, my husband
and I sit around the table eating fondue, drinking wine and listening to
Christmas music while the kids play with their new toys and watch holiday
movies. It makes for a very relaxing

I also have a favorite Christmas narrative that I like to
listen to called “Polly Anderson’s Christmas Party” by Canadian radio host, Stuart McLean. It is one of the most hysterical tales of
holiday hilarity that I have ever heard. I highly recommend it as well as “Dave Cooks A Turkey,” another
classic. My husband and I listen to
these as we play Santa Claus and go through the arduous task of removing toys
from their packages. By the end of the
night we have an endless supply of plastic coated wire, absurdly small screws,
and tons of boxes strewn all over the living room floor. We’ve usually got a pretty good buzz going
and have been laughing our asses off at Stuart McLean by that point so we don’t
care. It appears that we do have a few
holiday rituals in place. Unfortunately, all of them seem to involve alcohol and zero
participation from the children. What
does that say about my family? 


  1. I'm very interested in some of the traditions that other families have around the holidays. If you read this and think of any, please post them here.

  2. I know we have some, but I am having trouble thinking of things. I know every year the day after thanksgiving we set up the tree and we take it down on new years. My family grew up eating black eyed peas on news day. You could make a special night of setting up the tree with a xmas movie ( the charlie brown ones that come on tv would be great)hot coco, and xmas carols. If you did this every year and did the same sort of thing that would be fun. Do you do a real tree or fake? If it is real you could go pick one out together. I will think of more later. Is this all from my once upon a family party the other day?

  3. It's kinda' hard to intentionally start a tradition, when the boys were small, and I know you're going to laugh your butt off at this, I always read the book/poem 'Twas the night before Christmas' just before the boys went to bed on Christmas Eve, I enjoyed it, and when they were young, they tolerated it well. then just before hippity-hopping upstairs to bed, they always left shrimp cocktail and snack crackers out for Santa, He was usually tired of cookies and milk by the time he got to our house. Also, no fire in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. I'd be interested in knowing if your husband remembers this like I do?

  4. One year there were boots prints in our fireplace which was very cool! You could always write a letter to santa on xmas eve then put them in a book ( our holiday traditions album would be perfect ;) ) for him to read when they get older. We always go look at xmas lights and then we usually go for dinner somewhere. You could go to one of the annual plays about xmas and even if you move you could see the same play,but different area. You could build a fire and roast marshmellows and have hot coco. Yummy!
    See you in the morning!

  5. Melinda just reminded me that my Daddy always put some boot prints on the hearth too. There was also a cemetary in town that set up a drive-through Nativity scene. Sometime in the week before Christmas, we would all load up in the car and go look at it. The display would be so dorky by today's standards, but to me then, it was totally magical. One year Daddy got me out of the car and let me walk up close to Baby Jesus...I won't ever forget that. Oh, and whenever Rudolph came on tv it was a HUGE event. Since we didn't have a VCR back then, you pretty much watched Rudolph when it came on, or not at all. We were the same way about The Grinch. Things like that make me wonder about how we are robbing our kids of joys like that with the way things are today...but that's a whole other blog topic.
    As for my current family traditions, we are quite lacking. But like you said, family traditions aren't supposed to be contrived, they are just supposed to happen naturally. We do let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve and it's always a new pair of pajamas (makes for nice Christmas morning pictures). And always when we decorate the tree we listen to a recording of "The Christmas Guest" by Grandpa Jones. It's a little hokey, but it's something I remember my mom playing as a kid. Anyway, you've got me thinking about how I would like to start some family traditions in my home as well, and not just at Christmas, but year-round.

  6. Melinda-
    The OUAF thing was definitely what got my wheels turning. I am now riddled with guilt about my lack of family traditions :)
    Nope, our tree is fake. We will probably start getting a real one when the kids get a little older. I would actually love to do Christmas carols but it feels so hokey. I guess I need to get over that!

  7. Jacquelyn-
    You introduced me to "The Christmas Guest" last year. Hokey? Yes. Sweet? Definitely. WOuld Papa Dale like it? No doubt.
    I like the boots in the fireplace and going to see the lights. And I remember vividly when "Rudolph," "The Grinch," "Frosty," "Twas the Night Before Christmas," and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" came on every year. It was a huge event and our whole family watched those shows. Watching them today is kind of humorous but they haven't lost their appeal for me. Those programs with their slow-mo animation make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I hope they do the same thing for my kids.

  8. Papa Dale-
    I really like the shrimp cocktail and crackers idea. It's irreverent, easy and memorable. I also like the reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." I don't think that is hokey at all. It's a classic after all.
    We still hang Sean's britches on our mantle with the stockings. I guess him having a pair of pants instead of a stocking was a bit of a tradition too, eh?

  9. I have made some small changes in our foods as I can afford them. I READ EVERY LABEL. I mean Every label- right down to your vitamins and hemroid creme, they might contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. That is the one thing I am trying to cut out of our diet (at home at least). I have switched our bread to whole grain, be careful the labels are misleading in some, I have switched the jelly we use to an all natural type like Polonar. Smuckers and most have the HFCS too. I would like to buy organic apples and grapes, but that can get expensive. You must ask the produce people at a local stand too- just b/c they grow it, doesn't mean they didn't use pesticides. Also, I use half organic milk/half reg. milk for the boys.
    I do still buy Oreos, which have things I don't like, but if I can switch out the good w/ the bad, maybe it will even out some. It scares me to think some countries have banned the use of some of this stuff, America uses it soooo readily and everywhere. I believe it has been since the 80-90's that our sugar products have change, of course to save a buck and the use of hormones, to save a buck.
    I am pleased to say, some of my favorite cookies and treats, I am now turning away from them b/c of their ingrediants. It is a nice feeling. Just trying to find a candy bar that doesn't have CS/HFCS in is hard enough, I think the Twix doesn't have the combo??? Oh, my friend and I were talking about food, she said she has noticed that MSG is making its way back into foods, so another thing we have to watch for.
    SOmetimes I think Americans are guinne (sp) pigs, let's try this, see what happens to them, haha.

  10. Ok, I totally posted this in the wrong area I believe, my food thoughts, haha.