For me, life has been full of tradition, especially in the month of December.
As a child, I helped decorate the family Christmas tree, carefully placing age-appropriate ornaments on the branches. A few of those unbreakable, plastic ornaments from my early childhood still decorate my tree today. Tradition.
I have been told I go overboard with decorating my tree (over 700 ornaments, each with some sentimental meaning). Last year, I broke down and bought a second tree to handle the overflow. A new tradition.
As a rite of passage, when I reached the age of twelve, I was allowed to stay up and go to Midnight Mass with my father and older brothers. Mom would take my younger siblings on Christmas morning. When I had my own family, I continued the tradition of Mass on Christmas Eve, but not quite so late.
We switched to an afternoon children’s Mass beginning the year our older son played the Angel Gabriel in the Christmas pageant. Afterward, we went to a favorite fast food restaurant for dinner. It was affordable and the kids loved it. After my dad passed away, we took my mother with us. She enjoyed the Christmas pageant with us long after our children had roles in it, and we filled that restaurant with laughter afterward. Traditions can be worth hanging on to.
When I was a teen, I let my younger sister help me bake Christmas cookies. I confess the job I always stuck her with was washing the bowl, beaters, and pans afterward. (Sorry, Reene.) When I had daughters of my own, they helped me bake, and I washed the dishes myself. Now, one of my daughters hosts baking day(s) every year, and we all get together to make tasty treats. A tradition’s evolution.
In one of my writers’ critique groups, we have a tradition of writing a holiday or winter story or poem for our December meeting. I have belonged to this group for more than 25 years, and I have collected a number of poems and more than a dozen stories. You can read one of the stories, ONE YEAR AFTER, for free. Now that I am busy writing novels, this tradition can be difficult to make time for, but I always try to come up with something. And the group doesn’t critique in December. They realize that some work is hurried, and they are an audience appreciative of effort. This tradition has helped my writing to grow and improve.
Another December tradition is sending Christmas greetings, and I take this opportunity to wish everyone reading this a happy holiday, no matter which holiday you celebrate. I hope you will find traditions to remember, or perhaps begin a new one.
Wishing you a wonderful 2017!