Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Remembering Christmas - Traditions pt 1

What kind of traditions do you have for Christmas?

I recently talked about tree traditions on the Scrap with Shelby forum. We take for granted that traditions will always be carried down through the generations, but not always. As couples marry and make new families, some traditions are melded together, some new ones created and yet others are lost.

Like many families, my family would go on their annual ornament hunt. Each member would pick an ornament for that year and we would make a day of it. I remember looking around the brightly decorated department store and looking at each and every one. My brother would inevitable pick something hokey like a sequined ball or a lego house....My father? a bird. He loved birds on the tree. My mom would pick something more delicate like a clock or teapot. We'd unwrap them each year from their tissue and put it in it's proper owner's pile for hanging later. It was like a solemn ritual for me. We'd hang it, then my mother would hang the garland just so and the tree would be like magic.

Me - I always went for figurines. I have some from before I can even remember and I always loved them. When I was married, the ornaments came with me to my new home, guaranteeing a piece of my childhood and those Christmas memories would always would remain with me. Along with my own, I have a teapot and a bell from my mother's collection, one from my father;s childhood, and even an old faded light blue ball that hung on my parent's first tree when they were married. It's old fashioned and browned, and most of the glitter fell off long ago, but it's the one I treasure most.

This one I've had for years - one I remember always having, and even though it broke a couple of years ago, I can't bear to through it out. It resides in my China cabinet, a fond reminder of Christmas's past.

Sadly, this tradition just didn't take with my family. Perhaps it was the sheer volume of "baby's first Christmas" ornaments I've received for each child, maybe there were just too many traditions to meld and create for this one to survive. I don't know the reason why, but sadly for me, it just didn't.

But that doesn't mean it has no place in my memories, nor for those of my kids. With the birth of children comes the loss of precious irreplaceable breakables.... and so I have started taking pictures of these precious gems that may be loss in a household containing three children under the age of 6 - two of them rambunctious boys! I'm too busy now to make an album, but the important part is the pictures... I have those before these items are lost forever, and I tell their story each year when we hang them. One day when the kids are grown, and before they are ready to make their new traditions, I will be able to sit down and create the album.

Who knows, maybe when my kids are just a little older, and I am no longer a frazzled mom, perhaps we can revive this tradition and they will love it as much as I. But for me, I know I have preserved those memories to live on, and when I am gone, the ornaments will live on to tell my story.

Tomorrow I will post your traditions challenge.

1 comment:

Swikan said...

We started a tradition for our family when the kids came along. We tell the "story" of each ornament as we hang it on the tree, who gave it to us, where we were living when we bought it, why we chose it, etc. Just some memory attached to the ornament. Since we have moved around a lot, it's easy to forget some things. But the annual reminders of our old homes and old friends and far away family help keep them going.