There are some people (read: my brother Shane) who are all about traditions. Eating certain meals on certain days, hanging decorations in the same places every year - doing things that your people have done before you and that your progeny will continue after you're gone. I don't quite buy into that, nor do I eschew it altogether. I guess my strategy is something of a hybrid, picking and choosing those traditions worth carrying on, and leaving others behind in the dust.
During the holiday season, though, more of my old family traditions tend to rear their heads than at other times of the year. Here are some of my favorites, ones that I hope that the Bug and the Bunny will carry on themselves:
- Cookies. I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't buy cookies (or other treats) on a regular basis, and I only make them when one of my kids has a birthday or a school obligation. But I love making - and eating - Christmas cookies. But I have a half dozen Christmas cookie recipes from three of my four great-grandmothers, and I make three or four kinds each year. I think it's so neat that the recipes that my great-grands never even needed to measure out still make the best cookies in town.
- Advent calendar. We had one that looked like this when I was a kid, and when the Bug was born my mother found a seamstress who could make one for us. The girls love pulling the ornaments out of the pockets and finding a place for them on the tree, and the Bug counts down the days until Christmas after each morning's ritual. Here's hoping there are still people who can sew when my girls are ready to start families of their own!
- Family. I love spending time with family over the holidays - from our extended family's annual Christmas party pot-luck, to Christmas Eve at my Grandma Jan's house (where, if you were ever curious, I learned that gin is the better spirit to add to a bloody mary), to the full-day eating affair we fondly refer to as "Christmas." I don't much care if the venue, the meal and even the participants rotate, but I care very much that I spend time with family.
- Photo Christmas cards. Yeah, they can be cheesy (trust me - we've gotten some doozies over the years), but I love them. I love receiving them, and I send them myself. We just don't see our friends and their kids often enough - the cards are a simple way to follow the goings-on of people in our lives.