The holidays are generally a time when families come together to celebrate, eat food, and relax before the new year. My family is no different in this aspect, and I love every part of getting together with everyone. There are a few things that I always look forward to — the traditions that make the season just right.
Many traditions are meant to remind you of the fond memories of your childhood. Cutting down our Christmas tree was a fun tradition, and I intend to continue that starting next year when our daughter is old enough to walk around the farm. I remember the great times we had searching for the perfect tree, and I want to pass on that nostalgic feeling to her.
Another tradition is a concept similar to the Elf on the Shelf, but pre-dates it as far as I’m concerned. One of Santa’s elves, Ichabod, comes to visit a few times in the weeks leading up to Christmas to check up on the kids. Daddy talks to him since he’s the only one who can see him, and he leaves small gifts that can be found by answering riddles.
I remember the excitement I would get when my dad would stop what he was doing and tell us to listen. We would wait anxiously for the riddle while he talked with Ichabod, who appeared under the couch, in cabinets, and behind furniture. I decided as I grew up and learned that, sadly, Ichabod wasn’t real, that I wanted to give that same excitement to my kids one day. Ichabod began visiting us this year and I can’t wait to see our little girl’s eyes light up when she starts to realize that Ichabod is calling me over to the cabinets.
Other traditions in my family are meant to create physical keepsakes. Every year my parents would get us a special ornament for the tree. It could commemorate an achievement, a life milestone, or a vacation. When I moved out on my own my share of the ornaments came with me. Honestly, as a kid, I didn’t think too much of it. But each year as we pull out the ornaments to decorate the tree, I get to relive some of these moments in life – even if just for a second.
One of my favorite memories growing up was something as simple as my dad making Monkey Bread for breakfast on Christmas morning.
I’m sure I could write an entire essay on the holiday traditions in my family. Just as I’m sure there are many traditions, both big and small, that you remember from your childhood. I hope to pass all of these traditions down to my children as they grow up and have their own families. Because ultimately these traditions are about creating a feeling of nostalgia and remembering small moments of happiness. And perhaps to bring back just a little bit of that Christmas magic we outgrow.