Jenyfer Matthews
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December 27th, 2013
Holiday Traditions

I don’t remember having any real holiday traditions when I was growing up. Our extended family wasn’t a big one and we lived across the country from both sets of our grandparents so it was just my parents and me and my sister for most holidays. My sister might disagree with me about our family traditions and whether or not there were any, but then again she was 18 when my parents decided to split up while I was only 13. My holidays from that point on were pretty fluid events.

I suppose there were certain dishes we had at certain meals, but nothing that I really identify with my own family in particular. Except for the marshmallow “ambrosia” salad with the canned mandarin oranges. I sort of liked it and was revolted by it at the same time! Not a huge fan of marshmallows…

This isn’t to say that I don’t have any good memories of Christmases growing up. My mother was really, really good at stockings. And I can still remember the anticipation of Christmas mornings – waking up at the crack of dawn and sneaking downstairs to peek at the bounty of presents that Santa delivered as I slept. My sister and I would pretty much alternate the creeping and peeking from probably 4am onward until we would both go down together at 6am and get things ready for when we could reasonably wake up my parents. By they time they staggered downstairs we’d have sorted all the presents by recipient and as soon as they said “ok” we would madly tear into everything. The whole event probably lasted fifteen minutes tops, but they were probably the best fifteen minutes of the entire year.

As tradition-less as I felt, I wanted to give my own children some things that they could look forward to on the holidays. Of course, I was living half a world away from their grandparents so spending time with family wasn’t really practical. Honestly, part of enjoying my own holidays is in keeping things at a manageable level – not much fun for me if I’m stuck in the kitchen making elaborate dinners or mangling cookies as I try to cut them out and decorate them. If I can keep expectations low, I might have half a change at succeeding though…

I’m not as good at stuffing the stockings as my own mother was, but the children don’t seem to mind. They just know they are allowed to investigate the stockings and open anything there even before mom and dad appear. After we open presents – one by one, person by person so everyone can see who gets what – we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast and later in the day we do Chinese food for dinner. I know, it doesn’t sound like much and it’s probably a bit of a cop out but you know what? The children really, really look forward to Christmas and cinnamon rolls and Chinese food so I guess that’s all that matters.

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2 comments to “Holiday Traditions”

  1. 1

    I don’t know, that sounds like a lot of fun to me. I’d LOVE to go out for Chinese on Christmas – saves all that slaving in the kitchen and then having to clean it all up. That does take some of the ‘magic’ out of the day.

  2. 2

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