Unlikely Holiday Traditions?

Good day, everyone. Hope everyone is getting caught up with their holiday goings-on AND doing better than the NY Giants’ football team did this past Sunday. They were positively pulverized by the Falcons. I tuned out at 0-27 in the 4th quarter. Final score: 0-34. (They should have saved some of their points from last week’s game against the Saints, whom the Giants beat 52-27.)

Then there were last Friday’s heart-wrenching events—as recent superstorms hadn’t devastated people in the northeast enough. I keep trying to process the horrific happening and praying throughout the day for those impacted. Gratitude somehow keeps moving further front in the consciousness department.

That brings me to something I’m particularly thankful for: the opportunity to live out the traditions we’ve established as a family as time wears on. Rather than go into every one, I was thinking about those I never imagined I’d have. Of course I’ll illustrate then pass the blog wand for you to take a turn at sharing.

My family celebrates Christmas. As Italians, we’d do the fish dinner on Christmas Eve. (Can you believe, until last year, I didn’t know that tradition requires seven types of fish to be served? Obviously, we did not have that many types at my house. Most likely cost too much $$, lol.) Christmas Day included a pretty large dinner with immediate family—which most of the time is now held at my home—and a trip to my aunt’s afterward.

Pretty basic stuff, huh?

Here’s the one I could never have conceived as a kid. I am the oldest of three children. In May 1987, the older of my brothers died of leukemia, three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday.

My mom wore black for the following six years. (A tradition I dislike tremendously. Her friend’s son died three years earlier. She’s in mourning garb to this day.) Mom refused to do anything Christmas-related that year. Not sure she did a dinner.  No decorations. In the tradition of Italian mourning, no music was allowed (someone might think we weren’t unhappy), so I’d wait until she was at the other end of the house to turn on my stereo and play it so softly I had to sit next to the speaker to hear it.

Of course there was no Christmas tree either.

I insisted we have one and put up a traditional-style one (a Charlie Browner)—at the cemetery.

I’ve done so ever since. Hubby and my stepsons worked with me when they were young. Now me, hubby and my guys give my brother his ‘gift’ together.

 

This year, my mom bought a small artificial one for my uncle’s grave.

So, what unlikely tradition has become a regular part of your holiday season?

Have a great day, friends! Thanks for stopping by!

Joanna

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9 thoughts on “Unlikely Holiday Traditions?

  1. What a moving, ‘honest’ post. We all grieve, and celebrate, in different ways. My college roommate made me a sweet white-linen angel for the top of the tree 30+ years ago. Every year I take her out of the box (the angel, not my roommate), place her on top of the tree, and send a picture to my roommate, who lives many many states away. Very special – for all of us.

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  2. We don’t have any tradition as special as this. Every Christmas Eve, we attend the late afternoon church service, then we head home and make Paninis. Not very exciting, but the kids love it. We get all kinds of meats and cheeses and chips and dip and make some yummy sandwiches. Then we watch a Christmas movie while we eat. Afterwards, we play games. Then on Christmas, I make a big turkey dinner. Okay. Not I’m hungry…

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    1. I like your panini practice! Sounds like a nice way to enjoy a special time without all the nuttiness and stress of getting dinners together, traveling here, there and everywhere, as we tend to do, lol. Thanks, Carrie!

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      1. Yeah, my kids prefer just staying at home for Christmas, which is good, because neither my husband’s jobs nor mine have been conducive to traveling over the years. We’ve occasionally visited family, and sometimes have had people here. But often it’s just the four of us, and that’s nice too. 🙂

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        1. Haven’t had a ‘just the four of us’ holiday in a very long time. Our extended family is within an hour’s drive distance, so getting together is fairly easy. It’s always fun and I always look forward to it, but sometimes, just the thought of hanging out with my guys and keeping it simple has its place too.

          Kind of like on Super Bowl Sunday. I won’t go to parties any more. Since I really get into the game, I’d rather stay home and watch it with as few distractions as possible. I set some food up on the table (tacos, homemade pizza, snacks and brownies). The boys invite a few friends and we all hang out in the living room. The best.

          Have a great day and a wonderful Christmas. BTW, I’ll be posting my thoughts on your book most likely this upcoming Friday! I FINALLY got it done!

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