Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tradition!

Please imagine that Tevye is singing the title from "Fiddler on the Roof".

♫ Tradition. TRADITION! ♫

I am wrapping up the family Christmas scrapbooks and while all the pictures are in place I still need to do all the writing. This is the part I love best.

[ASIDE: What I don't love is formatting a zillion text boxes in Word so that I don't waste paper. I fit as many of those suckers on one sheet of paper before I print it, cut out the boxes and add them to the scrapbook. But it is still easier than writing everything by hand. And yes, I *could* just waste paper and make it easy on myself but that just isn't gonna happen!]

We have been fortunate around the Christmas holidays in that our families live close by. We are talking a five-minute drive to my parents' house and 1/2 hour drive to CPA Boy's parents' house.

We have NEVER had to travel for the holidays. No "over the river and through the woods" for us. No suitcases to pack, no airfare or airports, no chains for the tires, no meeting everyone for a Disneyland Christmas. We have been totally okay with this.

On the other hand, we didn't really have the option of staying home, just the three of us, and creating our own specific family traditions.

For example, years ago I found a recipe for "Overnight Christmas Cookies", basically a vanilla-y meringue cookie with chocolate chips inside. I made them once to test and they were great. You need to beat the eggs and other ingredients until stiff peaks form and fold in the chocolate chips. The oven needs to preheat to the proper temperature. You spoon out little mounds of the dough onto cookie sheets, put them in the oven and TURN IT OFF. In the morning, COOKIES!

Since we spent Christmas Eve at my parents' house, getting home at close to midnight, and had to be at CPA Boy's parents' by 10:30 am for Christmas Day festivities, there was never any time to make the cookies nor even the time to eat them. By midnight I was tired from the previous days of cooking and baking and then we needed to prepare the way for Santa's visit. We were lucky to get to bed by 2 am and then we got up sometime around 6 am so we could have time to open our own gifts to each other.

But as I went through the pictures I realized that from my son Thor's view, we DID have traditions every year. Some on CPA Boy's side go back to before he was even born! My parents got married on Christmas Eve so some of my side's traditions started before I was born too.

The new traditions I thought we would create didn't happen according to plan. But some unplanned and unexpected things became traditions after all and it's so clear as you look at the pictures over the years. Thor is an infant and then suddenly he is a 17-year-old, experiencing the same family traditions with every passing year. Is the phrase "Life is what happens while you're making other plans" applicable here or what?!

The Holy Family. The Yule Log on TV. Stump kicking. A Christmas Eve buffet. Shopping at Cost Plus for stocking stuffers. "We went nowhere and we bought nothing." RolyPolys (sp?) and cinnamon rolls. Driving to visit the grandparents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The little stackable wooden elf blocks from the old Hearthsong store in Sebastopol. Pizza at Round Table after Christmas tree shopping. Grandma's individual, handmade stockings for everyone in the family. Flinging wadded balls of wrapping paper at each other at CPA Boy's family gathering. (This was my LEAST favorite tradition and my small part in it was to hoard the balls until there were none left so the sudden thwacks to my head would stop.)

And so many more! ♫ TRADITION! ♫