Interesting this should come up as I’ve recently had two different conversations with two different people (one a family member, one a friend) who are dealing with people in their families wanting to usher out the old and ring in the new when it comes to family Christmas traditions. Both those who want to hold on to old hold on, I think, because the traditions are associated with loves ones lost. I get that.
Boy do I get that.
One I do now. Tonight (yes, December 19), we finally dragged in the tiny 4-foot Christmas tree we bought last minute somewhere I had to find on Google because Baums was already sold out and all they had left were a couple of 1 1/2-foot trees. And I live for a live Christmas tree. My kids are all going to make fun, but I don’t care. Even when I am and old 93-year-old wearing oversized corduroy jumpers and colorful mismatched wool socks under my Birkenstocks in some beat-up shack on the Oregon coast, I will have a live tree. It might only be 1 1/2-feet tall, but I will have a live tree.
One from my childhood. All of us kids slept upstairs so when it was finally time to come down for Christmas we would line up on the stairs in a way that always makes me think of the Von Trapp children (despite being a few short and having already by then given up the matching clothes made from drapery fabric). Youngest first, of course.
In my family we don’t so much care about birth order any more. And it’s harder to get people out of bed. But we do line up in the hall until I’ve put the breakfast strata in the oven and turned on Dan Fogelberg’s The First Christmas Morning CD.
One I love. It strikes me that this one also fits in the above two categories. As a family we always closed our Christmas Eve gathered together to read Luke Chapter 2 and then pray together. In many things we were hit and miss, but in this we were constant. So when it was my turn, I was sure to establish the same tradition with my family. Eventually we kicked it up a notch always having our son Luke read the verses from Luke.
When Luke left on his mission–my first child leaving the nest–I was quite sad about him not being here to read Luke. One of my best gifts ever a CD he’d recorded for me before he left of him reading the account of the Savior’s birth from Luke 2.
One you don’t love. If I could change one thing, I wouldn’t buy anyone anything for Christmas. I would follow the lead of my cousins who save their Christmas money for an experience. Every December they go on a cruise together as a family.
I would do this in a heartbeat were everyone willing.
We have enough stuff.
We have too much stuff.
I would much rather step away from all that stuff and the overwhelming thought of more stuff and go see the world together.
Bonus. When I was a kid I also have fond memories of listening to to the Campbell Playhouse: A Christmas Carol with Orson Wells on the radio. I’ve always loved A Christmas Carol. I now include the Patrick Stewart audio version and the George C. Scott video version to this old favorite.
[Day 54 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]