I don’t remember many things about my family’s traditions, except traveling to Indiana for Christmas, Avon for Christmas from my grandmother who sold it, and homemade cakes for birthdays. Beyond that, I just don’t remember much from my earlier years.
Unfortunately, I do remember anger, violence, drinking, disfunction (although as a child, I didn’t know what that was at that time) and many other “bad” things. My parents loved us, but brokenness turned into abuses. Abuses into addiction and addiction turned into the destruction of our family. Survival became the priority. But I wanted something more to hold on to.
When my husband and I had our child, I became fascinated with idea of family traditions. I heard that traditions were comforting. I heard that they helped families feel as if they belonged together. And, they sounded fun. Since I didn’t have, or remember many happy family traditions, I set out asking people what traditions they had that they loved.
One friend shared that she bought her girls new pajamas each Christmas and every Christmas eve, they would put them on and drink hot cocoa together. After her girls grew up, they still insisted on opening their gift–knowing full well it is PJs–and putting them on. After the shared cocoa together, they got redressed and went out for the evening. Traditions, they stick and they make you stick together. I wanted some of that. Not the cocoa, but the importance of being together and doing something familiar that becomes fulfilling.
I wanted traditions of our own. Many years ago, on a winter night, we were blessed with our first snow and one our first traditions was born. Each year, at first snow, we have pancakes for our next meal whether it be morning, noon, or night. Plain old pancakes have morphed into Snow Pancakes. Since I am an artist, I often cannot leave well enough alone and I made up a recipe. Our daughter taste tested it and now they are THE tradition for first snow.
Joy is the word that I associate with tradition. Comfort and belonging are in tradition’s care package too. I’m glad that I get to experience and enjoy traditions today with my family and look forward to making new ones as life goes on.