Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Orange crepes for breakfast on Thanksgiving. Grandma Pat’s cranberry relish. Watching Muppet’s Christmas Carol while decorating the Christmas tree. French toast on Christmas morning…
These are things my family of origin has always done.
I’ve added some things since Little K has born. This will make the third year in a row that we have decorated a gingerbread house on Thanksgiving morning and I’ve continued my mom’s loose tradition of giving pajamas to my daughter for Christmas.
We have some other acts that are on their way to becoming traditions. This will be the second Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in a row that my parents have joined us. Last year we watched Pirates of Penzance on NYE, which opened on December 31, 1879. (I certainly have no problem with popping in a musical every NYE!) I’m considering taking Little K to see the 29th annual production of Cinderella at Raleigh Little Theatre this December, which could become a special Christmas tradition for her and I since she spends the holiday with her father.
There are some things that are falling away at our house. I know that my grandfather considers brussel sprouts and pearl onions a requirement on the Thanksgiving table, as well as sending homemade Stollen to everyone in December. My dad needs Grandma Pat’s dip on Thanksgiving. My mother and sister need my great-grandmother’s Christmas Cookies.
These are things that I’m just not keeping up with. I think, though, that we are managing to keep the spirit of these traditions alive. We still cook together on Thanksgiving. We still assemble an iconic Christmas baked good (and then pick at it until it goes stale the next month). I still make cutout Christmas cookies with my daughter, although a different recipe. (And the dip has made a comeback since Mom and Dad have started joining us for Thanksgiving.)

I was the tradition-keeper of the family. And still am, up to a point. As a teenager, it was so important that the holiday season follow the same map as it did the previous year. If it was suggested that we do anything differently, I would freak out. I'm beginning to see that growing up means holding on to what means most to you and allowing the rest to fade away. I hope that our family traditions, the ones that stick around, have a special place in Little K's heart the way they do in mine. And hopefully I'll be graceful when she grows up and starts doing things differently than me.
I do feel bad about the Stollen, though. I think that I’ll ask Granddad for his recipe; maybe we can improve upon it and turn it into something that actually disappears off the plate rather than into the trash can!
What holiday traditions do you have?

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