Friday, December 19, 2014

on the importance of tradition

We picked out our Christmas tree last weekend. We’ve been putting it off and putting it off, just not feeling the season for a variety of reasons. Having just made the decision yet again to put off the tree search for another couple days, we passed a festive looking lot and I had a sudden change of heart. It was actually a fun experience, walking among the strongly scented firs and chatting with the farmer who’d cut them just days before and trucked them down the mountain. Popping a small candy cane in my mouth, we brought the tree home and began the process of hauling the seasonal boxes down from the attic, fingers crossed that the leak in the roof hadn’t damaged our treasures.

The holidays seem to come more quickly these days. I don’t know if it’s because the years are flying by with more haste as we get older, or it’s because the stores and TV commercials start their holiday push before Halloween is even past. Maybe it’s both.
So we wrestled our new tree into its stand and Dave began winding the strands of lights between the branches. The cats gathered, batting at the bouncing limbs and hanging wires. Dave utters words of frustration at them to try to chase them off, but they remain to “help.”
This weekend we’ll bring the remainder of the boxes down from the attic and our now adult kids will join us to hang the old ornaments. Some are handmade treasures made by their once small hands, some are memories we’ve brought with us from our own childhood trees, some selected as souvenirs on vacations taken a long time ago, and some that used to hang on the trees of generations past.

The mantle is decorated, trains set up on the hearth and old library table, crystal dangles from light fixtures and greenery is tucked here and there.  All the while, eggnog and holiday munchies are enjoyed and favorite holiday music hums from the stereo. It’s a good time and the best part is that we all are together and we’re all sharing in this tradition that grounds us. From year to year, no matter how busy we’ve gotten or what hurdles we’ve had to deal with, these traditions help us to find our way back.
We’ve been given another year together and for that I’m so grateful. There have been changes since the last Christmas, my kids continue to make me proud and inspire me, we’ve added new people into our family fold, we thrive, we struggle, we grow and grow older. There were failures, there were great successes, there were heartbreaking losses as we had to say good-bye to family members who have passed away and joys as babies are born. The holiday traditions carry us from year to year as we repeat our annual routines, retell the old stories and remember family members no longer with us. The holiday traditions bring us warmth, memories and security in otherwise fragmented and all-too-busy lives. 
We have no way of knowing what 2015 will bring us. By this time next year, we may have made it through challenges and changes that we can’t foresee today. What won’t change though, are the family traditions that anchor us, even if there is a bit of groaning and grumbling when it’s time to bring home the tree and haul the boxes down from the attic again.


Menthe Blanche said...

What a beautiful and big Christmas tree!
I wish you a happy Christmas and nice holidays.

Tessa~ Here there be musing said...

Lovely decorations and words....

jgy said...

Beautiful! I feel warm as if I shared an egg nog with you as you told your story!! Merry Christmas and a beautiful 2015 to you and your family!!♡

Tracy Altieri said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family Bev!

S. Etole said...

I'm late in wishing you a Merry Christmas but hope you have a wonderful New Year.