Saturday, January 26, 2013

Family Traditions

Sunset on the Cape Fear River, © 2012 Susan E. Hance
Here it is near the end of January and I'm almost lucid again. I loved every minute of our holiday family time--well almost every minute. The memories: who can forget playing "Headband" with adults and children sitting around trying to guess what's written on the card attached to the headband on their own head; rushing into Christmas Eve candlelight service, all eight of us late as usual, hoping the kids wouldn't set anything on fire with the candle on the way out; grazing on the homemade peanut butter balls coated in chocolate and any number of other "sinful" delights; walks on the beach trying to burn off holiday calories and horseback riding lessons.

Walks on the beach trying to burn off holiday calories...

CrossRoads Farm, © 2012 Susan E. Hance

...and horseback riding lessons.

The pre-holiday wind up was intense, so the unwind by all rights had to be the same, only it should have been faster, right? You know when the old style phone cords got wound up and you took the cord close to the phone, held it up in the air with the receiver hanging down like a pendulum and the cord spun around until it started to go the other way? That's it.

Oftentimes the things that are worth doing may not be easy. The easy thing is not always the right thing. We could cut back, skip Christmas, have a limited version. While reducing materialism is a great idea, skipping traditions would change the culture of the family.

 Over the years the kids have developed routines when they come to our house. At Christmas they ALWAYS watch Home Alone 1 and 2 and they look forward to it. They sleep on air mattresses in the FROG (family room over the garage) and if we tried to put them in a bed, they'd be insulted. According to them, sleeping in the FROG with the TV and DVD player readily available is their birthright.

There were songs to sing, presents to wrap, and gingerbread houses to decorate.

When the extended clan came to visit for two days, we had around 20 people in the house. Everyone helped, everyone laughed, everyone had a story to tell. Those are the memories that stick with us and become a part of the fabric of the family.

One of the best parts is finding treasures when everyone leaves. I found a note the girls wrote about how much fun they had with their cousins (until one of them threw up) and how great family is. How'd they learn that?  From family gatherings.