We are taking a brief break here at the end of the year, but I wanted to share a few of the end of year traditions in our family. This is the time of year when there are probably as many family traditions in play as any other. Here are some of ours:
Happy Holidays (whatever you may be celebrating)
The Nut Bowl : This is one that my dad started. There would always be a wooden salad bowl filled with mixed nuts in shells sitting in the living room. If you felt the need for a quick holiday munch you could start cracking walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazel nuts and the dreaded brazil nuts. Today I own that bowl and it’s filled with nuts during the holiday season.
Christmas movies : There’s a standard list of movies we watch virtually every year – “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, “A Wish For Wings That Work”, “WKRP In Cincinnati” Christmas episode, some version of “A Christmas Carol” (the Alistair Sim, and Patrick Stewart versions are our favorites. Someday I need to add the Mr. Magoo version too), The Waltons special “The Homecoming”, and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. When The Kid was young we had a tradition of taping the Christmas morning present opening and the one when she was three years old has become part of our viewing tradition as well.
Christmas Ornaments – This is just part of the whole thing. Those ornaments that must go on the tree. We are blessed with some beautiful handmade ornaments done by members of our family plus the special ones that have some story attached to them. Stories that are revisited every time we hang them. Plus a pickle and a chicken wing!
Christmas Eve – We open one small gift on Christmas Eve (see below) and for the last thirty years or so, go to the midnight service at church. This year will be different because we will be going to someplace different for that service. I hope we can feel like the tradition continues to roll along smoothly.
Christmas Morning – I don’t remember ever hearing about families who opened their presents on Christmas Eve till we moved to Jamestown. We are a Christmas morning family for presents. We have a special breakfast of cinnamon rolls and an egg and sausage bake. Since we usually don’t live in places with fireplaces we pop in the fireplace DVD for the TV and some Christmas music on the stereo.
Santa’s Helper – Every year The Kid dons her Santa hat and hands out the presents. It’s been here job since she was small. Wouldn’t be Christmas any other way. Maybe someday there will be a different little helper to take over.
New Year Tradition – We have never been big New Year’s Eve party people. Just never worked for us. So we will stay at home (much safer), wait for the ball to drop and go to bed. In the morning we begin our laziest day of the year. We throw some hot dogs and sauerkraut in the crockpot and some kielbasa in barbecue on the stove. You eat when you feel like eating, watch what you feel like watching (not a lot of bowl game watching since we’re not huge college football fans) and generally start the year goofing off as much as possible.
Epiphany – Our holiday season ends on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6 in 2015). That’s the end of the twelve days of Christmas and the day we will take down our Christmas tree. Yeah, that usually means we are the last house on the block with a tree at the curb. That’s fine with us.
Whatever you do this time of year, celebrate or not, I hope you have the best time of year you can have. From this craxy, mized up world of mine I wish you the most joyous and merry of Christmases. See you in 2015.