I don't remember mine, which is really sad if you think of it. I know that on Christmas morning my brother and I were to show up with coffee in hand if we expected mom and dad to come downstairs so we could open presents. I also remember making ornaments when we were little. But I also remember my friends having traditions with their extended family and friends who might as well be family.
Well, two years being in another country while your family goes through the holidays does something to you. It creates a space and desire in your heart to fight for family and fight for those traditions, even though as a teenager your parents fought hard and you resisted. You find yourself having to ask forgiveness for not putting family first for the last several years and begging to find a way back to it.
My brother and I are trying to take steps now so that our kids (mind you there is only one little guy these days...and can I tell you...he is ADORABLE!) grow up with traditions. Yes we know there will be times that Connor and his siblings and cousins will be annoyed with "family Christmas'" and we know that there might be years where it just can't be done, and we know we will have to be flexible, but our desire is to create that family space where everyone knows that everyone is welcome, everyone is loved, and everyone participates.
Only, we are learning it is really hard to do this. It is hard to come up with ideas and it is hard to implement new things. I am realizing that some traditions just happen. For example, for the last several years (I don't even remember when it began) my brother and I would lie under the tree, stare up through the lights and talk. Some of the best conversations I have had with my brother were under the Christmas tree. When I was in Tanzania he made sure to follow through and called me while he was under the tree. Last Christmas I was in Florida and he called again. This year, I will be wiped from the five services we will have at Crosspointe Church on Christmas Eve and in my stupor I will be packing a bag for my 6am flight to Texas on Christmas morning, but my guess, is that he will call then too. Because Christmas just isn't the same without it.
So, as we start fresh, I am curious. What are your family traditions? What does your family do that is crazy and nutty on Thanksgiving? What about Christmas? Do you have a pickle ornament on your tree, or do you have fights over the wishbone on the turkey?
What are your Griswald family traditions?