All holidays are seeped deep in tradition, none more so than the Christmas holidays. We from our earliest childhood memories have something that we associate with Christmas. Most of us have wonderful memories of family, special meals and special gifts. Others the memories aren’t so pleasant and the holiday was not the best of times.
In our family we had oyster stew and chili, we went to Grandma’s house and attended candlelight service at church. All these years later, all these miles away we traditionally have the same meal and go to church and sing carols holding candles with cardboard drip catchers. I haven’t been with my family for over 20 years. Geography and weather make it near impossible. Christmas time is very much a family time. If you are not near your family, Christmas is a very low-key holiday, almost like every other day. It isn’t like other holidays where friends and strangers gather to celebrate. At Christmas time you gather with your family.
This year is going to be different. If I can’t keep the holiday as my family traditions dictate, then I am going all out and breaking with tradition. This year we are spending Christmas Eve with friends and their friends. We are having a Mexican potluck, because it is easy and everyone likes it. Not because anyone in this group has a lick of Hispanic heritage. When we have ate our fill we will gather round the table to play some friendly poker. Before we head home after these festivities we will head to church to celebrate the birth of Christ caroling by candlelight. (Ok, I am keeping one tradition in all of this.) Christmas morning will be spent at home just the two of us sipping hot cocoa and exchanging gifts. We will heading to brunch at a friend’s house, bringing our contribution of pancake mix and syrup. With our tummies full we will then head out to make a stop a couple of other friend’s homes and wish them a merry holiday, and possibly take in an afternoon ski. Christmas Day dinner we are going to our neighbor’s mother’s home, with my famous pies in tow. On top of this all I have promised my friend who had her last chemo treatment this week and just plain did not feel like Christmas, that we will do Christmas in July, tree and all. (I have visions of us out camping in July in our vintage trailers with our aluminum tree in some campground whooping it up)
As I write this I bet my Grandma Virtue, who just loved Christmas is wondering what happened to me. Most of the Virtue side of my family are all pretty big Christmas extravaganza folks. I, who used to make dozens of Christmas cookies and mail them around the US to friends and family, did not make a one this year. I am sure my Grandma from heaven above is wondering where my Virtue genes are in my house without a tree. I have no answer for her, but I am breaking with tradition this year and surrounding myself with friends who are like family, and basking in the blessing they are. Merry Christmas to all!