Goodness me! What a busy year it’s been for me. So much running around: balancing bills on our tiny budget (yes we live under the poverty line), making sure food stays in the fridge (learning new recipes to stretch out our amount of food stamps we’re allowed every month), keeping things clean, making sure the husband and our cat are happy. Boy, I’m tired! However, this is not the reasoning behind this post – however, if you’d like more information on what I do to live on such a tight budget let me know, I’ll be happy to make more posts on that. I’m here to talk about holiday traditions. I’ll be using Christmas, but any holiday that’s celebrated should be packed full of traditions.
I’m not speaking about traditions that everyone says you should have, although I use some of those too. I’m talking about traditions that your family creates for themselves; something to add to the holiday that makes it unique and memorable. I know you may say, “but that’ll cost extra”… well, that depends. I’ll share a small list of traditions I’ve picked up, both from my childhood and from my position as a wife.
- Childhood – My parents, every Christmas morning, would make my sister and I wait upstairs (can be done just by staying in a room) while they made their way down to start choosing the Christmas music they want to play for that year, make their pot of coffee, get breakfast (baked ham & apples) started. They made us wait for what felt like forever, which added to our excitement – as we were always so eager to charge down the stairs when we were finally called. The music playing, the aroma of breakfast, and the lit tree with everything organized the way they wanted us to see it.
- Childhood – Every Christmas Eve, to break in Christmas, we would go to our church for the midnight service. This always gave me something to do instead of sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs while watching the clock all but actually slow time in front of my eyes. By Christmas Eve there’s normally nothing but reruns on, as I had already watched as many holiday movies as my little brain could possibly pack in. It brought peace to my mind to listen to my mother, who sang in the choir, and to sit with my dad whilst holding his hand; my sister sitting on the other side of him. Our pastor there always made sure to add a little fun for us and other children who would show up for that service. It was always enjoyable, that feeling while traveling back home, that it was Christmas. However, falling asleep after that was always super difficult – as stated in my first bullet, we were made to wait for Christmas morning, and then what my parents wanted to do.
- Childhood & Now – Putting the tree up has always, in my life, been a family event. Putting a Christmas tree together, as a family, always adds to everyone’s enjoyment, as everyone has equal say where placement of anything goes. Except my mother’s village under the tree, that was all hers. My grandpa, at their house, had his own toy train that would run a track around the base of the tree. My birth mother (yes, adopted and I know both mothers), who adds as many teddy bear ornaments as she can find and made sure that me, around the age of 28, created a childhood ornament just for her tree to go along with my half siblings. I used my other hand to write, so it appeared authentic. Anything extra that can be added, whether handmade, or a tradition that one member loves to add by themselves – they are all so super important.
- Childhood & Now – Every December, growing up, my father would make many big pitchers (over the month not all together) of homemade eggnog. This is not your typical eggnog, it tastes more like melted ice cream than that weird off flavor of the stuff from the carton (SO much better tasting than the carton!). It wasn’t until after I was moved out of the house and was in a serious relationship that I finally asked him for the recipe. Now, it’s a tradition that he and I both make it every year. Even though I’m living miles away from home – one sip of that eggnog and it feels like a hug from my dad.
- Now – Ever since my husband and I were given a boxed tree to use from my loving brother, we’ve been working hard at adding our own uniqueness to it every year. Even though that tree is retired now, but the tradition continues with our new tree. Every year, we both pick out one ornament at the store (each) that we enjoy. Slowly, we are needing the basic tree ornament balls less as we run out of room adding a little more each year. They are marked on the bottom with the year and which one of us picked it out. So many memories hanging on our tree.
- Now – Another tradition we do each year is add two new cocoa mugs to our collection (2 of the same). I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to do this before running out of cupboard space, but each mug has memories. It’s nice to hold a hot cocoa in a mug we bought years ago, feeling the warmth of a memory in my hands.
All of these traditions mean so much to me and fill my heart with joy and love. Knowing that I get to look forward to so much every Christmas helps me to keep the Christmas spirit and pushes me to work so hard to create more joy for those around me – which isn’t that hard, but traditions are so very important to me. I’ll tell you why…
Traditions – no matter how poor or rich you are, no matter how much you can give, no matter how much you’ll receive, will be there with you & for you every single year. I don’t remember many of my gifts growing up, I can’t even remember every present I got last year… but I do remember the traditions. They are what remain in your heart and you mind for many years. What counts it the love you put into showing your family how much you care, whether or not you can buy anything at all.
Traditions matter. They are important. Happy Holidays to everyone.