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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Traditions New

Jump ahead a couple of decades and everything is different. The traditions of my childhood have been traded in for a new set of traditions that I am still actually trying to work out. Gone are the days of Christmas trees and carols (although i still do sing them). No more family dinners on Christmas with the same food we ate on Thanksgiving. No watching my children run to their cousin's houses to see what they got for the holiday. Those have been replaced with a scaled down version altogether. My family stopped celebrating Christmas a while ago. We started celebrating Kwanzaa, which is  a celebration of African Culture. It lasts seven days and each day is a different principle. We would set up our Kwanzaa table with African cloth, a Kinara, A special mat to place the Kinara on, candles to go in the Kinara (red, black and green) fruit, dried corn cobs, a Unity cup, small African statues. Each night we would light the candles, and go over the principles for that day. If you would like to learn more about Kwanzaa, check out this great website that was created by the founder of Kwanzaa, Dr Maulenga Karenga. 
We would have a big celebration on the last day and invite our neighbors, friends and family to a big feast. It was always a great time.

Jumping ahead a bit more, things have changed again. Now our holiday celebration is pretty low key. It is just the six of us and we have "present day". My husband and I go out and buy gifts for our kids and family, we wrap them and place them in a big pile in our living room. We change the date of our gift giving day every year depending on my husband's work schedule and when the boys have to go back to school. Our boys (the two younger ones) get excited and just like when I was a child, can hardly go to sleep the night before. The little guys wake up first and then proceed to wake up their brothers. We all gather and pass out the gifts. We take pictures and video tape their reactions. We usually manage to surprise them pretty good. After the initial yells and screams of, "oh yeah" and, "I really wanted this", the boys retreat to their rooms to check out their stuff. My husband and I look at the pile of wrapping paper and wonder how long it will be before we regret buying the toys with the sirens, bells, and whistles.

The year, present day coincides with New year's Eve. We have a small gathering of friends and family that come by for appetizers and spend a few moments with us before they head out to their New Year's Eve night festivities elsewhere. My mom spends the night with us and we crack open our bottles of sparkling cider to ring in the New Year. While our traditions have changed, the love and warmth that surrounds us during the holiday season remains the same. While I do miss some of the old traditions, it is fun to create new ones with my boys.

Who knows what different things they will do when they are grown and have children of their own. But, knowing my boys, it could be anything.

Do you celebrate the holidays differently than you did as a child? What new traditions have you created with your family?

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about your holiday tradition! People forget that it's not about buying for everyone but it's about being together as a family. That's why I tell everyone that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's being with my family without the stress of gift giving.