By Lindsay Eckert
Tradition is a huge thing in our family, but some traditions we outgrow. My cousins and I don’t go to the new Disney movie every year dressed in an outfit matching the movie and T.G.I.F.’s Friday night shows are long off the air.
Our traditions range from who can make Gran drop the phone from an elaborate April Fool’s prank to getting dressed up for a nice dinner at the same restaurant and coming home to watch the ball drop every New Year’s Eve.
I never thought any of us would grow out of our beloved traditions. Sure, it may look a little silly watching ages 25 to 80 banging pots and pans in the front yard and waving sparklers after the ball drops in Times Square, but those traditions defined our holidays.
Christmas is when we really pull out the big guns, we help my grandparents put up their tree with bulbs twice my age and hang ornaments my mom and uncle made in Sunday school. The stairway is covered in garland and the tree is in the same place every year. My pap reads the Christmas story by candlelight before we all file into our rooms and air mattresses for a Christmas Eve’s sleep.
Christmas morning’s alarm clock is my uncle running in and out of our rooms shaking jingle bells and flipping on lights to get us up (it was a little harder for him when we hit the teenage years). Then all of us grandkids would sit at the top of my grandparents’ steps in our new pajamas and when the faces hidden behind cameras counted down to one we raced down the stairs to our stockings on the mantel.
This year was a whole different story. We celebrated Christmas on a rainy Tuesday night (more than two weeks before the real Christmas), so much for a white Christmas. Our dinner was carryout from KFC and Papa John’s, a far cry from the years of eating a homemade dinner by candlelight.
The air mattresses were rolled up and tucked away in closets, the stairs were dim and the historic and handmade ornaments were missing on the new tree in a new location. Santa is going to be royally confused when he slips down the chimney this year.
Although some family members may have outgrown traditions, they haven’t outgrown the spirit of the holidays. Even though traditions have defined our special occasions in the past, it doesn’t mean they will define our future occasions. Sure, my mom and I will still smile when we pass the stairs, I’ll always envision the old Christmas tree in its old place. We still have the memories of our traditions and now we have a future of new traditions. Despite all the changes, we never outgrew each other and being together for every holiday is the best tradition a family could have.