Shared by Siobhan Tull
Traditions are interesting. Growing up you accept that this is how things are done because it’s a “tradition.” You don’t question them, really. They help to ground the holidays for a lot of us. And then we’re teenagers and everything is terribly uncool and we can’t possibly be expected to do that…OMG Mom! And then you have a family of your own and suddenly you realize that those traditions were a hard fought battle on your parents’ part. They are the fruit of their labors, they’re desire to make this time special and occasional stumbles, and your love for them increases 100 fold.
In my family all our holiday traditions are like that. Very few are intentionally made. Most of them are born of repetition and the kids saying, “Well, we always put the star on last.” Or “We know Mom, you tell us every year. But that’s what I love about them. They help me to know where I can plant my feet during a crazy time, even if it’s not EXACTLY like it was last year, it’s pretty darn close.
One that has become one of my favorites has only sprung up in the past three years or so (which is an eternity to my children so I think it counts…). On Thanksgiving my family gets together at my mother’s house in upstate New York. We eat and drink (and argue a bit) working together to make a Thanksgiving meal that can’t be beat. Then wake up the next day ready to tackle Christmas. And the town is happy to help us out.
Every year, the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, once the turkey has worn off, the town has a little parade down Main Street. The Girl Scouts come, and the fire engines come…and Santa & Mrs. Claus come in a wagon, pulled by a team.
They meet and greet and ensconce themselves in their little house in the town square where they will hear the hopes and dreams of the children in the area up until Christmas Eve. (They aren’t there ALL the time, they have “office hours.”)
There is hot apple cider and Christmas music and the joy of Christmas wishes for all of us share. And I’m beginning to think that it wouldn’t really be Christmas to me anymore, if I didn’t see Santa arrive. The magic brought in slowly, in the company of family and friends, to celebrate all the wishes of the world.
What about you, what makes the ‘season bright?’ And where have those traditions come from? Whatever they may be, I hope that they plant your feet where they need to be. Happy Advent.