Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - How Traditions Change

As long as I can remember, and that's longer than I care to admit, Christmas Eve was always celebrated with family.  When I was a child, it was with my parents at my dad's sister's house.  His other siblings along with their children, my cousins, around 20 people would arrive with gifts in tow.  The presents would pile so high they were half way up the tree and just as big around it.

Tradition, we all understood, was that the youngest in the family got to open their gifts first, with mother's help of course.  We all watched with excitement as we heard who the gift was from and to see what was inside the bright Christmas wrappings.  Not I nor my cousins could sit still as we anxiously waited for our turn.

When the evening was over and we were driving home, I and my three sisters would look out the widow and up towards the sky watching for Santa and his sleigh. 

As the family grows larger, young children grow and have children of their own, out of necessity and lack of space, splits occur, but the traditions continue with each branch.  

Now let's fast forward, now married with four small children, ages four months to seven years, of my own and because of a new job my husband took, we lived 2-1/2 hours away from my parents and sisters.  My sisters at this point in time were still single living at home with mom and dad. 

Being the close family that we are, distance was not about to let our traditions die.  My parents and sisters drove the 2-1/2 hours to my home for Christmas Eve.  Out of necessity, I always prepared a spaghetti supper, garlic bread, tossed salad and cheese cake for all upon their arrival.


My granddaughters waiting to pass out the gifts
  Some years later we moved back home to be near the family.  At this point in time my sisters were married and had children so we took turns holding our Christmas Eve, and always the spaghetti dinner, garlic bread, tossed salad and cheese cake.

When my first daughter married and had her first child, I decided to begin my own branch.  Always again the spaghetti dinner. One year I decided to do something different and put out a buffet.  My children weren't too happy with that and asked why did I change the family tradition.  So out of necessity a new tradition had begun and I didn't even know it. 

Happy 21st Birthday
 Our first grandchild was born on Christmas Eve.  I always tell her that she was the best Christmas gift I ever received.  So now we start with our spaghetti dinner, garlic bread and tossed salad, then we have a birthday party before we do our tree and open gifts.  Guess what she wanted for her birthday cake.  You got it, cheese cake, candles and all.

My sisters still continue to all get together with their children and their grandchildren who have started to arrive, they have decided not to start their own branches as of yet.  So in order to make sure the family still gets together for the Christmas Holiday, a new tradition sprang some 23 years ago, an idea of one of my sisters.  We now have a Family Ornament Exchange Party.  Everyone brings an ornament, a favorite dish, and games to play.  Guess where I am headed to at noon today.  Merry Christmas everyone.


Guess who won this game
hint, the one who is smiling
the other one can't see, LOL
  

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