I'm joining pals Sarah and Elizabeth to write every day in the month of December, feel free to join in any time! Today's prompt: What traditions did you observe this year? Did you start any new ones?
I love certain traditions and rebel against others. I don't like the thought of following the status quo, but at the same time, there are certain routines that bring back cherished memories of my childhood (yes, there were plenty of happy ones) and years past. My favorite of all traditions is Christmas.
When I was young, it was the one time during the year I remember everyone in my family being happy. My dad would get all of the decorations down out of the attic and we would put our artificial tree together, string the lights, hang the ornaments, and build the train tracks around the tree weaving in and out of the legs of the chairs and coffee table.
We had an original Lionel Train. I absolutely loved that train. I loved deciding with my brother where the tracks would go, getting them positioned just right so the beginning and the end connected perfectly. I loved lining up the engine, coal tender, boxcar, and caboose and marveling that it would just go.
I loved our Christmas stockings, which were handmade out of colorful pieces of felt. We had presents to unwrap under the tree, but most of our goodies would go into the stockings from Santa. I've been after unique felt Christmas stockings forever, and this year we found some and G got them for me for my birthday proudly sponsoring our names on the front. Levi got one too of course.
I still put up an artificial tree, a much sleeker fuller version with 900+ integrated lights. But still, I have to work to fluff it and get it set up just like that old one from my childhood. I somehow got custody of many of my childhood Christmas ornaments before I fell out with my parents. It makes me so so happy that I have them, they are some of my most treasured possessions. Priceless and irreplaceable. My favorite is a wooden ornament that has a rainbow and unicorn on it. It was one of my first ornaments as a baby.
I struggle putting some of the ornaments up, and this year I opted to keep some of them in the box. An ornament my parents got me of Virginia Baptist Hospital, the hospital I was born in, which includes a heart-shaped note card handwritten from my mom that says "It all started here. We couldn't imagine our lives without you, and are so proud of you." It seems a little bit like a lie right now, so I have to let it be. I had my moment to feel what I needed to, a few well deserved tears, but ultimately my spirit for the season endures.
Ever since I had a home of my own to decorate, I have done so in such an elaborate manner that I have to start planning and decorating the moment Halloween is over. I know so many people who poo-poo railroading Thanksgiving, but to me, Thanksgiving and my birthday are not the same without the spirit of the holidays included. I've had as many as 4 trees (of varying sizes) up in my home at once. I decorate them all differently each year, and it takes so much time and energy that I love to have six or more weeks to fully enjoy it before it tearfully comes down.
A friend once said that Christmas is my superbowl. Indeed, it is. My most favorite time of year. The tradition of Christmas Day has evolved over time, with the absence of my parents and my brother and his family moving to the UK, and gaining a new lovely family thanks to G. These days, we prioritize a big delicious Christmas breakfast and exchanging gifts. Then follow it up with a movie in the afternoon and Chinese food for dinner. This is vastly different from what I grew up doing, or did in my twenties when I was married the first time. But I love it just the same. I will love the tradition of Christmas, in whatever way it comes to me, forever and always.
Tell me, what is your favorite part of the holiday? Bring me some holiday cheer by telling me about your favorite decoration or tradition in the comments.