Traditions

Never mind that Halloween candy is barely polished off and leftover
Thanksgiving turkey still lurks in the refrigerator, all of a sudden
it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Every year about this time
the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge saying “Bah, humbug!” comes calling when
I hear that first Christmas carol way too early and see stores putting
out Christmas decorations as they remove the Halloween décor.

Santa3.jpgBut before long, I get caught up in the holiday spirit. I start baking
cookies and looking for that perfect gift. I send old Scrooge packing
and welcome the memories and traditions of Christmases past.

Most families can say they have them – traditions that make the holiday
uniquely their own. Traditions have always been a part of the Sparks
family Christmas. The entire clan looks forward to chowing down on my
famous garlic mashed potatoes and yes, another turkey, complete with
stuffing made the same way as last year, and the year before that. The
meal wouldn’t be complete without sweet potatoes with marshmallows and
cranberry-orange sauce.

When it’s time to exchange gifts, someone is chosen to be Santa, a
much-coveted role; Santa gets to hand out the presents in any order he
or she chooses. Before Santa gives out that first gift, though,
everyone – young and old – must relate a memory from a past Christmas.

Then gifts are handed out and opened one at a time. Sometimes that can
take an entire afternoon! Many gifts exchanged are not fancy or
store-bought. They certainly cannot be found in any catalog. One year
my mom gave me a tablecloth, exquisitely crocheted by her mother. It’s
nearly 100 years old now. Another year she made me a quilt using scraps
of clothing I’d worn as a child. She’d kept them all those years.
Seventeen years ago my husband made a potty chair for our first
grandchild, and our daughter already considers it an heirloom that
she’ll pass on to Kayla some Christmas in the future.

Some of our traditions have lasted for many years. Some have been
tweaked to include new family members. As the family grows, some
traditions have been added and some have gone away, but the
longest-lasting is to try to get the entire family together at least
for one day. I know that as the kids grow up and start their own
families and their own traditions, it won’t always happen, but no
matter where we are, or how much things change, I’m confident we’ll
always be together in heart.

As you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas and embrace old
traditions or start new ones, enjoy family and friends who give the
holidays their true meaning.

What holiday traditions do you look forward to each year? Have you been
the lucky recipient of a family heirloom? Have you given someone a gift
they will someday pass on to the next generation? Let us know about
your favorite traditions or most memorable holiday by Dec. 10. We’ll
share them with all our readers in a future issue.

P.S.: Visit the blog at www.antiquetrader.com to find out what happened on my most memorable Christmas. Nothing will ever top that one!

— Sandy                   

dinner.jpgOur tradition: When it’s time to exchange gifts, someone is chosen to be Santa, a
much-coveted role; Santa gets to hand out the presents in any order he
or she chooses. Before Santa gives out that first gift, though,
everyone – young and old – must relate a memory from a past Christmas.

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