Wednesday, December 23, 2009


When I began to write this article, I really thought that as a family we had no traditions; so I called my daughter for her opinion - as a child of mine she always has one. Opinion that is.

Food, she tells me, is one of our traditions. Christmas and Thanksgiving meals are the same today as they were thirty-seven years ago. My daughter carries on that tradition in her home with a few additions from her husband's family. My rice and creamed peas have always been a success, my cornbread stuffing was never a favorite with the children so they have eliminated it from the menu. I make a batch just for my husband and me. And there is the food of summer; deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tradition!

When I was a small child my mother put a bottle of olives or maraschino cherries in our Christmas stockings. Olives for me, cherries for my sister and brothers. I carried on the tradition with my children, one olive two cherries. My daughter starts that tradition with her children this year. I have no idea why my mother did this, but I did it because it reminded me of Christmas at home. Tradition!

Christmas as a child meant my Father's peanut butter fudge. The best fudge I have ever eaten. And it was a production. Dad at the stove and the four of us standing on chairs around him. The drop of fudge in the class of cold water; Dad knowing when it looked just right. He always had four spoons for us to lick. As an adult if I was away from home at Christmas Dad would mail a box of fudge to me. I make fudge every Christmas, not as good as Dad's, but Tradition!

When the children were young I went all out with decorating. If it stood still too long I decorated it and many a sleeping cat and dog awoke to find bells on their collars. No room was missed. My daughter, the mother, says her house looks like Christmas threw up all over it. Tradition!

No present could be opened on Christmas morning until my husband and I were seated on the living room floor coffee and tea in hand. The children had to wait on the stairs until the O.K. was given. Then it was a free for all. This was also one of my Mother's Traditions!

My children always wrote to Santa. One year their grade school decided the younger students, K-3 would write to Santa and the sixth graders would answer their letters. My oldest daughter, the sixth grader, muscled her way into getting her brother's and younger sister's letters. She knew many secrets about the two of them and she used those secrets to convince them Santa really did know when you were naughty or nice.

The day they received their letters from Santa they blew in the front door and ran straight for their rooms. I found both of them cleaning under their beds. It seems Santa knew that when their mother asked them to clean they lifted the bed skirts and shoved everything under the bed. Very clever that Santa, he even named a few of the under bed items.

I knew something was up when my oldest daughter was found on her bed with a pillow over her head so no one would hear her laughing. My grandchildren write Santa, and my daughter often answers. She the victim of what was under the bed. Ah, Tradition!



Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Presents we get - not so important. A dessert burned - we'll live. But mess with tradition? No way!!!

Love it. And isn't it funny how some of the oddest things become the most entrenched and beloved traditions?

December 23, 2009 at 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a pot of coffee was always perked at my house as a child before opening presents. And I do the same with my husband and daughter even though neither one of them drinks coffee. They wait.
Also a large peppermint stick was always under the tree for me. One of those 1" diameter ones you could clobber someone with.
The olives and cherries thingy - that's unique.

December 26, 2009 at 12:11 PM  

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