The Crazy Crew

The Crazy Crew

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Recently I have been thinking about traditions. Specifically holiday traditions. Last year since we had just made the move to Arizona and we were exceedingly broke, we didn’t follow many of the normal traditions that we have had as a family in years prior. There was no shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we didn’t hold our annual Colcord Kringle Mingle, we didn’t have family near and couldn’t afford to go home to attend the festive events, our decorations were minimal and we all felt displaced and a little less holidayish in general. Of course, some traditions made it through. I am not complaining at all though. Chirstmas may have been lean but that does not mean that it was a lean Christmas. Does that make sense? We really reconnected last year with the meaning of Christmas and not the commercialism of the season.

I have a bit of experience with moving, changing, and letting go of holiday traditions. My Mother was the one who demonstrated changing a tradition will not kill you . . . even if you think it will. When I was little we used to open up our Christmas presents from family and friends on Christmas Eve. The thought was it was then less hectic when we went nuts over the Santa gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve could be civil this way, we could take notes on what was received so our thank you notes could be sent in a few days. Christmas morning could be more chaotic because everything came from Santa.

Why am I telling you this? Well one year my Mother decided that the Christmas feeling was often gone much too soon on Christmas day and decided that now we would open one gift on Christmas Eve (it took us forever to choose the “one”) with the remaining gifts being opened on Christmas morning along with the Santa presents. My brother and I went along with this, we had no choice. It was a year later when my Mother decided we would all now go out to breakfast on Christmas morning BEFORE opening any presents. My brother and I thought we may actually die from the waiting! We still got that gift on Christmas Eve to open, but now we were told which gift we could open . . . new pajamas. I now understand this theory . . . with new pajamas you ensure your kids do not look like ragamuffins in the Christmas Eve and Christmas day photos. Well played Mom!

Now, this going out to breakfast thing turned out not to be too bad and I very clearly remember one snowy and icy Christmas morning when we were returning from our breakfast that we came upon a family who’s car has slid off the road. My Dad was able to help pull them out of the ditch and get them on their way. Talk about feeling Christmas spirit. I was still in grade school when this happened but to this day, that memory makes me proud of my Dad. My theory is that we went to breakfast that morning so we would be in the right place to help that family. Changing traditions isn’t so bad. Thanks to my Mom for this lesson.

So, let’s move years ahead and talk about how sometimes traditions change with marriage and divorce. Gosh knows I have been down both these roads, a couple of times. With my first marriage, I learned about Christmas Tree compromise. I like an artificial green tree, multicolored lights and a hodgepodge of ornaments, which I have made, been given, and collected over the years. My first husband wanted a real tree, flocked completely white with all blue decorations. I gave in because you just can’t blend those two tree dreams. Needles fell off, I had to water it, flocking was everywhere. To this day, I think it was awful. I have no doubt he thought it was beautiful. With the exit of the first husband also went the flocked and blue tree. In its place was a little 4 foot tree my parents bought for Alex and I. Perfect for our little duplex and lives. We had that tree and used it every year until . . . marriage # 2. With the second husband again came the real tree (Hate it) but this time no flocking and I was able to put my wide variety of decorations on the tree. Then shortly later bye bye ex and bye bye real tree. That year I upgraded to a 7 foot prelit tree. Multi-colored bulbs of delight on a fantastic green tree. This is the tree I use to this day.

My point? Well, the point is some traditions are really deep in you. The green tree with the multicolored lights and hodgepodge ornaments is what I grew up with. It looks like Christmas to me and that is what makes my soul happy. My mother also loved that stringy tinsel that you found around the house until Valentine's Day but since I didn’t I tweeked the tradition just a bit. That is ok too. Keep what you love, toss what you don’t. I know single parents who do or do not keep doing something because their ex did it even though they don’t particularly like it. You know what let you ex keep doing or not doing that thing . . . you do something else. Even if you have kids! Give your kids the gift of knowing the things that make you feel Christmas in your heart. If there is a special cookie, bake it. If there is a special movie (Miracle on 34th Street, Thanks again Mom), watch it. If there is something that makes you feel grinchy and not holiday (fruit in stockings), toss it. The sooner you do, the more of that Christmas joy you will feel.

This year the Colcord Kringle Mingle is back, the house is festive from one end to the other, we made it home to Idaho for Thanksgiving, did a bit of shopping the next day and those Christmas Eve gifts are waiting under the tree . . . only one for each person, you know what they are, they know what they are but it is a tradition worth keeping. We still have to figure out what our new traditons will be now that it is the three of us and Moose in Arizona. I may not know exactly what those will be at this minute but I can promise you if the idea doesn’t jingle my bells it will be tossed out. This time of year, I want all those festive words from my Christmas music obsession to be in my life. Holly, jolly, joy, holy, merry, faithful, wonderland, Rockin’, family and home.

Let your traditions stay a while or evolve with you. Know that traditions are not written on stone tablets they are written on soft hearts.

Wishing each of you a holiday filled with wonderful tradition old and new.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Tracy! I too have my traditions that I grew up with (love the real tree)that are all a part of Christmas for me. I love to decorate my house and have a tree and do all the holiday things, but when I wake up in my parent's house Christmas morning and we all take our "spots" in the living room (yes-we all sit in the same exact spots every year.)preparing to open gifts while we are all yelling at my mom to hurry up with her make-up--that is Christmas. Then my older sister and her family come over and we do it all again. Then we eat breakfast and watch a little tv while my sister Dawn naps and the kids play with their new loot. Can't wait! Thanks, Tracy for reminding us what Christmas is really about. from: Kellie