In 1960, a family Christmas tradition had burst into my memory for later in life. This was my first memory of Christmas and Christmas traditions. My family of origin and I created those memories that are now more meaningful than gold.
That said, another family holiday tradition was created when I was taken outside and presented the boot prints made in the snow that was usually falling on Christmas Eve. After looking at the footprints, there were odd noises that I heard and I was told the sounds were Santa’s reindeer. This was done nearly every year. It became a funny family tradition for a long time.
At any rate, our family consisted of five children and mom, dad, and our grandmother who lived next door. This was the holiday tradition for eating together as a family.
One holiday tradition our family also had, was going to church for a Christmas show kids put on about the manager scene and Jesus. We kids were part of it too. It was fun. Afterward, boxes of chocolates were passed out for everyone.
Sometimes we went sled riding while the holiday season was fresh and people were off work and school. Once, we went with other families, and we had a blast! The half a mile walk back up the top of the hills were killers though. Sliding on old ringer washer lids were used back then and it was the fastest, best ride down any hill.
As my siblings married off and had kids, then my baby brother and I, mom and dad lived in their little house and the Christmas traditions went on. The family grew and grew too, so the house stayed small and the kids grew larger so it became a real elbow to elbow family holiday tradition.
Keep in mind, the gathering of all the family in my parent’s cute, but very small house, ended up a real crowded meeting over many years. Mom would always worry about how she could afford to buy gifts for every single person, and the distress that came with the holiday tradition of packing into her home. It caused her a lot of work that I think she got too old and tired to do anymore.
Somehow, the holidays came and went with events to treasure, some holidays were not as good. In 2006, my older brother gathered together with all of his family for what all of us knew would be his last Christmas. It was extremely sad. He died in 2007 at age 54 of lung cancer.
The last Christmas, 2008, my mom was very ill and in the hospital. Our beloved Christmas tradition stopped. Some of us traveled to the hospital to visit her. She came back home and died there this year on Jan. 11th. My father has Alzheimer Disease and had to be placed in an assisted living home only 2 weeks after mom died.Their home is empty now, void of all festivities.
I don’t know what will happen this year for the holiday traditions. We all have our own families and homes, so I guess we will just create some more Christmas traditions with our nuclear family to keep it all going.