Friday is for Favorites: Holiday Traditions
Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
I hope you have had (or will soon have) a wonderful little bit of time with your family. Maybe you’ve had lots of good food, a little bit of sleep, or seen some of the snow that has been blessing various states. Here at the Jones house, holiday traditions are up and running—us four kids have decorated our Christmas tree, which is plastic due to my sister Kate’s extensive allergies. When we found out she was allergic to pine, Dad got online and ordered what he believed would be a beautiful tree with nice white lights. Lo and behold, when we set it up, it had neon-colored lights. Us kids love it. Dad was slightly less than thrilled (teasing him about the lights has become an excellent Christmas tradition), but it looks pretty good. My youngest brother, Charlie, made the star this year with a small square of wood and lots of nails. I believe it was my sister Kate who said it resembled The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I would have to disagree. I would say it is a fantastically complex modern art piece that just happens to resemble a hastily-done carpentry project. Just kidding, Chach. We love you.
On the topic of traditions, however, I’d have to say that seeing some of our dearest family friends is one of the best. Every year, our “aunt,” “uncle,” and two “cousins,” who are only a few years older than we are, join us in Vermont. We only see them for a couple days at Christmas every year, but every year it is remarkable to see one another and how we’ve grown, as well as how life has been. Last night, we all got to sit around the counter and catch up on all the different activities we’ve been involved in over the last year; one of my cousins, for example, was telling us all about his semester studying abroad in Prague. He was so enthusiastic in his storytelling that he accidentally burned all the garlic bread. Believe me when I say he received a good deal of gentle teasing.
On Christmas Day, all ten of us will dress up in nice clothes and have the turkey that is sitting in our fridge and some lemon squares Kate made, but the best part of the evening isn’t the food or the presents. No, the best part of the evening is sitting down around the table and hearing everyone’s “thankful fors,” which, later, we will write down in Sharpie on a tablecloth covered with six years of colored handprints filled with each year’s blessings. It is so fun to go back and read all the different blessings over the years: college applications, high school best friends, my cousin’s old boyfriends, my grandmother finding happiness. Good things come in small packages and big ones, but all of them go onto a tablecloth.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?