December 17, 2020
Christmas means traditions. We carry on some traditions from when we were kids, and we pick up some new ones along the way. That certainly has been the case for me.
I sense my kids are creating traditions of their own which makes me happy. (Kids, remember to be flexible and realize your partners will have their own traditions. Embrace those, too!)
Fair to say I am over the top with my affinity for Elf, A Christmas Story and It’s A Wonderful Life. I have three leg lamps in fragile wooden crates in storage in Charlottesville. Along with several different standees of Buddy, Ralphie, Ed Asher as Santa and Randy. (I can’t understand why there isn’t a Jovie standee.). And my collection of probably 200 plus airplane bottle ornaments and several strings of leg lamp lights. (Note to self -- somethings that are funny when you are single aren’t as funny when you are not. 🤪)
I’ll always be thankful to Frank Carter for introducing me to George Bailey, Mister Potter and all the other It’s A Wonderful Life characters at Wilson Hall our second year at UVa. Over 40 years ago. Ouch. 🤪
Some traditions have evolved. In my childhood, the tree went up Christmas Eve and came down on the Twelfth Day. That morphed into putting up the tree earlier but decorating it on Christmas Eve. The next evolution was getting the tree the day after Christmas and decorating that day.
I tried for awhile to continue my childhood tradition of a stocking gift each evening of the Twelve Days. I always enjoyed that tradition because it was a reminder that Christmastime really starts on Christmas Day. That’s why there is this thing called Advent. But the Twelve Days got harder as the kids got older and now it’s just a memory.
It makes me laugh to think of other elements of Christmas that were important. For a while we carried on a tradition from my childhood of having a second Christmas tree called the “Cookie Tree” where would we hang cookies to give to guests. Oh, and what color lights - white? Multiple colors? Red? Then there was decorating the outside of the house. I never went full Clark Griswold, but I probably came closer than my neighbors would have liked.
This all sounds pretty secular. I have a difficult relationship with religion these days. On the one hand I believe in the story of the birth of Jesus and the religious stories surrounding Christmas. Yet, I have my doubts about other aspects. I’m certainly not unique in this area - or any other area for that matter. 🤪
Rambling. My neurons that turn thoughts into words are struggling. I guess as I think about it, Christmas and its traditions for me meaning sharing love and caring. Bringing smiles to people faces. Forgetting about the stresses of life for a little bit.
I still struggle with how to help those less fortunate at this time of year. I haven’t developed a tradition for helping with that one yet.
Can't think of a better way to end this than with the best Christmas-time song of all time: