this morning my boyfriend turned to me and asked, "do you have christmas traditions? did you have any growing up?"
i turned back to him and said "not really".
when i was little, i was jealous of families that had holiday traditions.
i made cookies for santa one year, i remember, because that's what other kids and families did. and i wanted to be like them.
i wanted the christmases i had grown up believing everyone else had. i wanted the evening before kevin is left home alone. i wanted the christmas songs playing while a large group of people decorated the tree. i wanted family christmas cards and you can open one present on christmas eve.
instead, i had just plain ol' christmas. i was the youngest in my immediate family (i spent most christmases with my mom, her brother, and her parents) and so i was the only one waking up early to open presents. you didn't need traditions to wrangle a bunch of kids and cousins. there was only me so we just winged it.
i've realized that a lot of this urge for traditions was really an urge for the prototypical family. i wanted parents who were together and siblings who actually grew up with you and i wanted a big family that we had to travel back and forth from. i grew up kind of hating the holidays in part due to the repercussions of having separated parents and because of situations that existed around that. the holidays meant fighting, meant anger, meant sadness, meant missing one parent, meant hurting another parent...
families that were "normal" had traditions, my mind said. i realize now how dumb that is, but at ten...you have dreams. as i've gotten older, i've realized that there are more people than not that grew up like me. whose parents didn't have them all wear matching pajamas or didn't have them curl up in front of the tv to watch its a wonderful life or had only one parent or a grandparent or some other family situation that was not heralded in the christmas films of yore.
but i've still had the urge to carve out traditions and when i said "not really" this morning to the bf, i was all sad that i hadn't really created any.
until a few hours later when i was in the middle of baking a pie and realized that that wasn't entirely true. it seems currently that my holiday tradition is to: 1) make and send george the pup holiday cards and 2) bake an apple pear crumble pie.
the 7th georgie card went out this fall. pie for tomorrow is cooling in the kitchen. these have been my traditions. these have been my holiday contributions. and i like them. i like them a lot. it keeps me involved in a holiday that i spent most of my childhood hating. i can only imagine what traditions i may add as i get older. i fear for my future kids and what stupid traditions i will force upon them.
and my christmases have not become anymore like my childhood dreams. they are sometimes still spent separate, still spent missing and hurting, still spent figuring out how to enjoy the day without everyone you love around. basically my christmas is like everyone else's. basically it is normal in its hodge-podge-ness. and it has taken 30 years for me to appreciate them.
here's to 70 more to really fall in love with my version of the holiday.