I should be getting ready to head to the gym but a few things that happened this morning got me to thinking about tradition and what that means at Christmastime.
Both my sister-in-law and a great friend of mine have introduced the "Elf on the Shelf" to their families. I think that this is an awesome tradition and such a fun thing for kids to be involved with. Frankly, the Elf freaks me out with his beady eyes and rosy cheeks and how he moves around the house on his own. Also, the fact that he'll "freak out" if you touch him (as put by a sassy little 5 year old I know) kind of freaks me out even more.
I've always been a big fan of tradition. It was the little things that you did year after year, only surrounding a certain event or timeframe, that made something special. For me, Christmas was always about the excitement of visitng people, seeing family, and lots of laughter. I looked forward to our annual Christmas Eve open house party that my parents hosted at our house. I got to see all of my cousins and friends and other family all in one place. My mom made these great Swedish meatballs (leave it to me to remember the food..) and Santa came to visit. I would get picked on by cousins, fauned over by aunts and uncles, and just have a jolly good time. I was afraid of Santa as a child so, at the end of the night I would drag my sleeping bag into my brother's room and sleep on his floor. This continued well into high school and maybe even into my college years. He and I would wake up at a ridiculously early hour and open our stocking presents and then go back to sleep until sunrise so we could go wake up mom and dad for the main event. Christmas night was driving down to the Tonks's for dinner with more crazy (but wonderful!) family.
Times have changed and these traditions are now just memories. Kids get married, babies are born, people move away, and traditions die, adapt, and more are born. My family, who lives in several different states, is working to build new traditions while just enjoying our time together.
Even in this time of tradition "upheavel", there are certain things about Christmas that make the season for me. I thought I'd list out some of the things that make Christmas for me:
-The smell of a real tree in the house
-Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
-Driving around looking at Christmas lights
-Wearing a Santa hat out of the house and it being completely acceptable
-People's general spirit of love and giving
-Wrapping my dog's presents just so he can tear them open
-Gatherings with friends and family are the most fun this time of year
-There are movies that you only get to watch at this time of year
The list goes on and I might add more later. For now, I better stop procrastinating and get to work on my list of things to do.