Friday, December 16, 2016


Note - my intent was to write a list of some of my favorite traditions.  Instead it became a short memoir.  Tomorrow, I'll share my list of favorites.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy a short walk down my Memory Lane.
Tradition - Visiting the Santas
from around the World
In our family, Christmas is steeped with tradition.  It’s what memories are made of.  We keep up with the old, and add a few new ones as our families grow.  
Growing up, my sister, brother and I, spent Christmas Day visiting other family members.  Once awake and after our presents were opened, and breakfast eaten, the car would be loaded with gifts and off we’d go.  Our first stop would be Grandma’s (paternal) house.  Grandma always had ice cream, a bowl of orange circus peanuts and green spearmint jelly leaves.  She always wore a dress and an apron.  I don’t believe I have ever seen her in a pair of slacks. 
After Grandma’s, we headed on over to Nana’s house.  There we would meet up with my Aunt Polly, Uncle Fred and their three children.  Nana always served lunch.  She always had tons of gifts for us.  She mostly wore slacks and an apron. 
See a pattern here?  The apron.  Essential.  Traditional.  I carry on this tradition – I love a good apron.
The evening was spent at Pap Pap and Aunt Lillian’s house.  (Aunt Lillian – technically step-grandma).  Aunt Polly, Uncle Fred and cousins would meet us there.  At Pap Pap’s we always had homemade pasta.  Our gifts were usually pantsuits, or jumpsuits or dresses, which we three girls would then try on and trade among ourselves. 
It was late evening by the time we returned home.  We rarely got to play with our gifts on Christmas Day. 
When I married and started a family, we carried on with the traditions of my youth, although we now visited my folks at their house and then Grandma, Nana, Pap.  Another tradition was added– a Christmas Eve party at my spouse’s parents’ home.  Santa would make an appearance (he still does) and give out gifts.  There was food and drink and over a dozen little ones running around. 
Fast forward to the year my daughter was about ten and asked if we could just stay home.  Bless this child.  Yes, let’s make our own traditions.  And we did.  That was at least, dare I say it, 25 years ago.  Grandma, Nana, Pap Pap and Aunt Lillian are no longer with us.  My daughter and two sons now have families of their own.  New traditions have been made.  I host a family party on Christmas Eve.  There are about 25 of us.  It’s wonderful to see all the kiddies together.  
I’ve encouraged my children to stay home on Christmas Day, if possible, and make new memories with their loved ones.  I serve ham and side dishes around noon if anyone wants to come over (these days, it's just Kayla, Elliot and I, and my son, Joey).  Later, K goes to Doug's and Elliot and I visit my parents.

What traditions have you kept alive. What's new?  What have you let go of?

Keeping Calm and Being Merry,

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