We are getting closer to Christmas, and it’s not going unnoticed that this year will be the first without our favourite little lady in red. Christmas just wasn’t Christmas until the red 1988 Crown Victoria pulled up in front of our place the day before Christmas Eve. We would be so excited, because we all knew that they would hardly get in the door, unload BOXES of presents, and homemade goodies, and all us kids would pile into the car to head to Nutter’s to pick out whatever red, green, and white candies we could find.
Traditions; no matter how trivial they might seem at the time, leave an indelible, lasting impression. Traditions are what we pass on because for that one moment, we feel closer to all the people that came before. Those people who left a mark we choose not to erase.
I once heard a story about a woman who always followed her Grandma’s recipe for making a roast. She swore by trimming off both ends of the roast, they boasted that they made the best, juiciest roast of anyone. One day she thought to ask her grandmother why this made the roast THAT much better. Her grandmother answered “It doesn’t do anything. My roaster was just too short”.
Traditions. They mean nothing to the casual observer, they mean nothing to grown child who didn’t stand next to grandma as she meticulously added ingredients to the stuffing until it “smelled right”.
So when someone is suddenly taken from the ordinary, mundane tasks of getting holiday meals prepared, they become traditions. These traditions we continue because we want to remember Grandma in the Christmas Eve meal of homemade perogies, cabbage rolls and ham. They become traditions because we have the warmest memories of Grandpa belting out “Joy to the World’ at midnight mass. And they most certainly become traditions because what would Christmas Eve be without our Granny tipping back her favourite B52 shot before bed?
So here is to traditions.. However you do it in your family. Whether it’s Christmas Eve pajamas, Christmas morning oranges, or Great Uncle Alec’s sock full of Busch beer from ‘Santa”.. this time of year has everything to do with what, and more importantly, who, came before us.