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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm not much on traditions. That's not to say I don't follow some but, for the most part, I'd rather mix it up a little. I grew up with the tradition that every Easter, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas had to be spent at my aunt's. Now, I'm not saying that was a bad thing -- at least not when I was little -- but when I started to grow up, the traditions didn't -- so even with a husband and, then children, this tradition was never relaxed. I can still recall my aunt wondering why in the world we had to be with Mark's family on holidays -- as if his side of the family didn't count.

As far as I'm concerned, when traditions start to weigh too heavily or when they are no longer conducive to peace and joy then, perhaps, it's time to rethink them. Mark and I tried to make everybody happy when we were first married and, for awhile, it was fairly easy because both sets of families lived in the same town (though we didn't). It just meant that on the different "feast" days, we were stuffed by the end of the day, having had to dine at two different places -- and on the same type of food. Fortunately, at Christmas, Mark's mother had her big meal on Christmas Eve (and Thanksgiving at night), while my aunt had her big feasts at lunch time. No exceptions. When Mark's parents moved to another town (not far enough away to be able to go to one gathering and not the other), things got a little more difficult.

When I look back on my childhood, I do have fond memories of my aunt's (where, by the way, I was the only child there. Ever.) but I also remember that we never really had our own traditions at my own family's house. We opened presents and then we had to make sure we got to dinner on time or else. Traditions shouldn't be that way. Nobody ought to feel, if they don't follow the yearly script, that they will be in the doghouse.

After we had children, the rules didn't change but, eventually, we did. I put my foot down and said we were no longer going to travel for Christmas (Thanksgiving -- with no presents -- was easier to deal with). We were going to spend it in our own house and, if anybody wanted to see us on that day, they'd have to come to us. After we made our decision, Mark's stepmom's daughters were happy -- it was something everybody had wanted to do but nobody wanted to be the first to suggest it. That is why we now go to the stepmom's house the Saturday before Christmas -- which, of course, is now a -- you guessed it -- tradition. And, if you don't show up, then you get to hear about how everybody was there except you. Oh, well...

But what it boils down to is this -- if a tradition is working for you, if people enjoy it, if it's fun, then by all means, carry on. But when folks get criticized or guilt-tripped about not being able to make it on a certain day or at a certain time, then I think it may be time to take stock of what the holidays are all about, anyway. You know, the old peace and harmony thing. And what's wrong with doing something different every year if the opportunity presents itself?

So, if I don't get another post up before Thanksgiving, I hope all of you who are celebrating, will have a glorious day surrounded by friends, family, food and faith.

And, thank you, for reading my little blog.

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  1. I have always had Thanksgiving dinner at my house. Except for one year when Dom and I went out of town and last year. I had decided that I had enough of the cooking, cleaning and family fights that happened every year. So last year, Dom, Donna and I went out for dinner. Susan cooked dinner at her house for Ashlie, Shelby and Mike. But Shelby missed my dinner, so I wound up cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.

    This year, no cooking for me. We're going out again and we extended an invitation to anyone who wanted to join us. Right now, it looks like everyone is coming plus an additional - uninvited - guest. We'll have to see how it works out. With the family fights still there, I'm just glad we'll be in a public place.

    We always had the girls at home on Christmas and had my parents over on Christmas Eve. After Susan married and had children, I would do Christmas Eve at my house so the girls could be home with their presents on Christmas day. We've still done that every year. I'm not sure about this year. Again, family fights makes it a not very pleasant time and I think I just might end it this year.

    It's such a shame when traditions have to end because the family can't get along.

  2. Such good advice. It seems that the only thing not served on these occasions is common sense. A toast to your holidays.

  3. I agree -- a public place would probably be the best idea! That's, at least, one thing I can say about my family (nuclear and extended), there never have been any fights -- so that is a blessing -- the days spent together have always turned out well in that regard.

    I think the lack of common sense is running rampant -- not just on holidays but all days. Sad. And scary.