Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today I have been thinking about Christmas traditions. We had some really fun ones when I was growing up. I think half of the fun of Christmas is traditions.

First of all, our tree was a tradition in itself. We were a fake tree family. The one year we tried a real one, my mom and I found it toppled over on the floor of our living room one day. Dad had to tie it to the bay windows to keep it upright through Christmas. After the lights were on it, my sister and I would always decorate the tree. We had ornaments from our vacations, ornaments Mom made when we were small, ornaments we made in our classes, but our favorites were the Disney ornaments. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Flora, Fauna, Meriwether, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey, Doc and Sleepy all adorned our tree. We usually gave them prime placement.

We always made at least one batch of Christmas cookies. Isn't it funny how Christmas cookies can be the biggest deal? Jen and I would toil over each tree, angel and snowflake and then give great consideration to who got to eat which cookie. For instance, when we'd go to my Mom's parent's house on Christmas Day, we assigned cookies to the family. "Okay, Big Daddy. I guess you can eat this snowman. And this angel. No wait - this angel."

Speaking of Big Daddy, one year my dad emptied out his under-the-sink cabinet and for Chrisstmas gave my granddad a dop kit filled with all kinds of man product: shave gel, toothpaste, deodorant, cologne, etc. I think it was supposed to be a joke, because my grandmom would always fill our stockings with similar toiletries (and money), but Big Daddy got the BIGGEST kick out of it. So my dad continued to do that for like four or five years. Hilarious.

My mom and dad would let my sister and I open only one present before going to my dad's parents' house on Christmas Eve. While the women were washing dishes from dinner, my cousin, sister and I would make numbers for everyone to draw so that we could take turns opening presents. Usually before anyone got to unwrap anything, my grandmother would beg and plead with us to sing something. My sister and I would belt and scream carols, until she turned about 10, and then it was up to me. When I was in second grade, my music teacher taught us "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella", and when it came on my grandmother's Mannheim Steamroller CD and I announced that I knew this song and started singing along, my family was stunned. So for years I had to sing "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella" for the rest of my family. And to this day, that's the one Christmas song I can't hear without tearing up.

Lastly, my favorite tradition of them all was our Nativity tradition. My mom's grandmother was a very skilled ceramic maker. She made beautiful pieces. She even made my sister and I each the most beautiful porcelain baby dolls. True heirlooms... I really wish I hadn't have drawn on mine. But I digress. Nanny helped my grandmother make a ceramic Nativity set for my family, complete with cattle. I don't know when it started, but for years my sister and I would go collect four pieces of the Nativity set and put one at each place on our dinner table. After the blessing, my dad, mom, sister and I would take turns sharing our Nativity piece's role in birth of Christ. From Mary and Joseph to the Angel to the baby lambs, every character had a special role. One time I had the donkey, and when asked, I proudly shared with my family that the donkey was the one who carried Mary to the "Galleria" (aka Galilee) to have the baby.

As fun as those traditions were, I am okay with leaving them behind and forging new ones. As our family has shrunk and expanded, we've carved new traditions. Who'd have thought Home Alone would become such a big deal? I can't wait to have my own family one day and come up with fun, special ways to make the holidays personal.

However you celebrate it, I hope it's merry merry!


  1. cracked me up

  2. tied it to the could i forget you telling me that story. my uncle brooks was so frustrated with their tree on year, that he nailed it to the floor...

  3. Don't forget the newest tradition of TBS' 24 hour running of the Christmas Story!


Oh goody!

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