Friday, December 19, 2014
DEJA VU BLOGFEST 2014
Choosing my re-post for DL Hammons and Nicole Zoltack DeJa Vu blogfest was a difficult one, although it should have been easy given the time of year. I chose my last year's holiday traditions post from the old deleted blog. I cleaned it up a little and shortened it, made it a little less depressing, hopefully . . .
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was an all day food affair that had its start several days prior. The turkey was thawed (purchased anywhere from one year to three months prior), prepped and refrigerated; stuffing ingredients collected; pies, cookies and candies baked at least two days before. And we always ate dinner by noon on Thanksgiving. I never liked eating such a big meal that early, but we had buffet food all day long, and the day after too.
Christmas season started on the Saturday following Thanksgiving every year. The tree was placed in the usual spot before the living room window; the decorations were hung in all the same places and designs every year; the same routine was followed for church and the annual mad purchasing trip to the mall to spend our allotted Christmas allowance (and collected allowances for those of us willing to save all year) on gifts for family members – mom, dad, siblings, grandparents.
Packages started arriving under the tree within a week after its installment, but of course us kids already knew what they all were. We’d started looking for hidden gifts in July - my parents started buying next year’s Christmas shortly after New Years, and by Halloween we’d already discovered all the surprises to come. Sometimes a gift went to someone other than anticipated; and there was the occasional unknown purchases in the week before, but there was rarely a surprise gift under the tree
for us to unwrap.
We unwrapped our gifts about 8pm on Christmas Eve, including the overstuffed stockings, so I never really had a belief in Santa Claus.
Although my upbringing was Southern Baptist, I've rarely entered a church during my adulthood, and
my husband's were not associated with a specific doctrine. We raised our children perpetuating the Santa myth. Neither of us could stand to look at the empty Christmas Tree all month (the tree was assembled and decorated the first Saturday after Thanksgiving) so we had presents under the tree all month. But stockings were always filled about midnight Christmas Eve (when we were sure all kids were finally soundly asleep), and the last gifts were put under the tree and labeled from Santa.
The Santa gift to each child was the most expensive, never wrapped, and usually the gift the children wanted the most, and purchased last minute to avoid the kid’s inquisitive adventures. There were also “family” gifts such as video games, music CDs, and other electronics all the kids (and parents) would share. When I divorced, the gift was often something we collaborated on and mutually paid for. Or something I purchased for the absent dad who forgot to buy for a child he no longer lived with.
But the stockings had a tradition of their own. It held the usual candy, a funky dollar tree puzzle game or slinky, and a wind up toy. As the kids grew to teens, there was always gift cards for movies and fast food, a tooth brush (seemed a good time to replace those), and some form of jewelry - even for the boys. The first year I did not hang stockings for my adult children who had moved out they all complained about the lack of a tooth brush and missed the Christmas morning wind up toy races. The races are a tradition from my first husband’s family, and so I also miss the early morning activity as it distances me from that coveted connection.
My daughter is the only one with a family of her own, and it pleases me that she is carrying on a lot of
the holiday traditions she grew up with, but also making her own traditions – influenced by her and her husband’s upbringing – and passing along something unique and special to future generations.
Tis the season for celebrating Family traditions. Where ever YOU are in the world, I hope you are thinking of your distant family and friends, remembering your past traditions, and forging new traditions for the future.
Happy Holidays everyone, however you celebrate the end of year.