Monday, December 9, 2013

Traditions - or Not!

             
Tuesday Slice of Life is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Go there to visit so many other terrific "slices"!

           I’ve never had a tradition with Christmas trees.  As a child or in my marriage, there has been more than one “thing” we’ve done about “the tree” for Christmas.  Monday, I went to Target and bought a new artificial tree.  I was not happy with a bigger tree last year, and finally found time to shop for a new one.  I discovered a sweet little pre-lit tree that fits just right in one place in my living area. 
           Is this the ideal memory-making event for Christmas?  Maybe?  I’ve found that doing things during the holidays, and perhaps every other day has more to do with the attitude I use than what happens in the event.  I went to Target, found just the tree I imagined, stopped at Starbucks for chai, and went home to put it up.  It was a good time. My granddaughter will be over later in the week to help with the trimming.  We’ll play Christmas music, read some special books, and she’ll help me.  We’ll make memories!




Imagining all the different trees through the years.


          What other slices of times did I remember today as I made the big trek to Target?   I grew up in a small town until I was twelve.  In that town, my grandfather was a leader, a farmer part-time, and he sold feed.  He had a huge flatbed truck that was used several years in a row for going to the woods to cut and bring back the huge, cedar, town Christmas tree.  I got to go!  We drove deep into the woods, looking for a beauty.  Others drove along too, to help cut and tie the tree on the truck bed.  It was a special time to be with my Pop.  I also looked forward to the lighting of the tree later when Santa appeared and gave out small bags of candy that each also held an orange.  This was long enough ago that oranges just were not available everywhere, so were a unique treat.
           In my married life, we had small trees, huge trees, and finally artificial trees.  We traipsed into the Rockies to cut our trees some of those years, and through Christmas tree farms other times.  We gave tree-trimming parties when we caroled our neighbors first, and trimmed with just the kids some years.  Sometimes their friends helped too.  It rarely mattered who was helping, but we always had a tree, and lovingly brought out the ornaments, many of which, like some of you, have stories attached.  A few years ago I parted with quite a few because I gave my grown children the ornaments that belonged to them for their own family trees.   It’s now fun to see some of those on their trees.

 
my kitchen tree
         In addition to the bigger tree, one constant about Christmas trees has remained dear.  On Thanksgiving evening I put out my kitchen tree to start our Christmas season.  I found this tree years ago and have added kitchen-y ornaments to it as I find them, have tied ribbon to cinnamon sticks and made little walnut ornaments for it.  It has become special to me, and is one tradition I won’t lightly forgo.  Traditions can be safely kept, but it’s okay to make new ones too, I think.  Holidays can mean happy changes, which start new traditions.  Whatever you celebrate, I hope you all have good old times, new times--those that are meaningful no matter what.











first photo credit: vereiasz via photopin cc

48 comments:

  1. Yes, the traditions have more to do with the attitude or spirit in which they are done. Our first Christmas as a married couple with no money was a sweet one. So was the Christmas we were living in a motel. The best Christmases are the ones with the Spirit. Have a wonderful time making memories with that granddaughter! She's going to treasure them in years to come (Can you imagine her writing about that day years later?).

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    1. Aw-such a good thought, Donna. I imagine you won't ever forget that motel one! Thanks for the good reflection!

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    2. I like your kitchen tree. Memories are tied to so many things and events. I like that you are creating new ones with your grandchild.

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    3. Thanks Ruth, it is a pleasure to have good times with my granddaughter. Nice to hear from you!

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  2. Love this peek into Christmas at your house. The kitchen tree is really cute. Think I need one of those!

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    1. Thanks Deb-it's been fun decorating it a little at a time!

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  3. I love your kitchen tree. It's perfect. What a great way to start the holiday after Thanksgiving that ends in the kitchen.

    I also love this line: "It rarely mattered who was helping, but we always had a tree, and lovingly brought out the ornaments, many of which, like some of you, have stories attached." I love those stories attached to each piece. Memories flood as you unwrap each piece.

    Last night my 15 year old was in a panic over getting our tree. I assured her we'd get one, this weekend. What kind who knows?

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    1. It is important to our children, isn't it? I was at my daughter's this past weekend, & the grand girls proudly showed off their tree! Thank you!

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  4. Christmas memories are the best. For some reason the tree seems to take front and center! Thanks for sharing your memories and traditions.

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  5. Christmas is about making memories. When I think back on holidays of my life, it is always Christmas front and center. I hope to create a few memories this year because my son and family will be here for the first time. I loved your reflection of all the past Christmas's.

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    1. How wonderful Elsie! It will be a special Christmas for sure!

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  6. I love how you keep the focus of your traditions on the memories you make with loved ones instead of the mechanics of what you do. We've had different trees through the years, too, but I love looking at the ornaments that we collect on vacation each year.

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    1. Thank you-always glad to hear new thoughts. It is the ornaments that are important!

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  7. Traditions change as we change, don't they, Linda? I think the way we go about adapting to change and thereby adapting "traditions" speaks so much to that search for what is meaningful that you write about. Your "new" tree will collect memories this Christmas - traditions, perhaps.... and the kitchen tree endures. We carry the past even as we accept the present and prepare for the future. I am thinking of you, especially , this holday season, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Tara- good words to keep close!

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  8. Lots of people have Christmas trees on their minds today, don't they? I agree about making new traditions, Linda. Our Christmas celebrations have changed a lot since our son moved to Virginia, but in a good way. Enjoy your day with your granddaughter. It sounds lovely!

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    1. Yes, I'm just beginning to read more of the posts, Catherine, but I did notice a few on the list. Thanks for coming by.

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  9. I love that you will enjoy your tree trimming with your grand-daughter. Your memories of the orange brought the image of stockings hanging at my house with lumps in them and maybe a coin. We also loved the oranges! Oh...Santa usually put a chocolate bar in too. You inspired me today...thanks Linda. xo

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    1. This older granddaughter helped me last year too when I had just moved in. What a December-it was a year yesterday! Happy you remember the special oranges too-we were excited! Thanks, Nancy!

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  10. All this shows how much "we" make the holiday - right? I have loved all our different trees...we lived temporarily in Arkansas and had an artificial tree those two years; this year, we have a very small tree that I believe will amuse my college sons when they return. I, too, love the stories attached to my ornaments. Your kitchen tree is sweet!!

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    1. I understand, when my kids were older, they didn't like change much when they came back home. Thanks, Maureen!

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  11. As life changes it is important to be willing to change traditions as well. This is a big year of changes for me. My dad has passed and my mom has dementia. We split up her decorations this year and each of us is trying to share pieces of our traditions with our own families. You have inspired me to think of starting some new as well… beginnings are also important!
    Clare

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    1. Sorry for the changes you are facing, though, Clare. They aren't easy. But how lovely to share the decorations and pass what they mean to your own families. That's really nice. Yes, making new ones helps too. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. This is a mystery world to me. No trees for us but what a fantasy! I loved being on your tree traditions with you, Linda.
    Thanks
    Bonnie

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    1. I think the closest it might be are just what traditions you savor, what pieces of the family history you pass down, use, have a hard time giving up. Thanks for listening!

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  13. Your kitchen tree was new to me! I think it might be time for me to start creating new traditions as my daughter will not be home for the first time ever!

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    1. Changes, changes. This particular group of postings is filled with those who are making changes, some good, some more challenging. I remember when my brother couldn't make it home one year, still remember. It was a change, and we still had a good Christmas, learned then that it could be different, but still wonderful. Thanks, Jaana.

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  14. A trip to Target is always worth it in my book! Happy Holidays!

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    1. Ha! Thanks so much. It was actually very good-always brightens my day!

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  15. Holidays can be a difficult time and especially for those mourning loved ones. I am happy you are making some new traditions and memories while lovingly remembering the old. Your spirit (and, yes, attitude) have so much to do with the joy you give to others.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret-new things are helpful for sure, and the memories will stay no matter what.

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  16. Like you, I am thinking about trees today. I agree that it is the memory and not THE tree that matter - except you kitchen tree - how MAGNIFICENT! My mom would have loved having one of these. I think I might need to consider this as a tradition....

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    1. I imagine it will eventually my only tree, and isn't that a good thing, something to keep, but to remind about all the others in the past? Thanks Anita. Hope you find one that's just right for you!

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  17. I still go over to my parents' house to help them put the ornaments on their tree, because that's always been a special tradition for us. We love to share memories as we put on all the ornaments from trips and school projects and camps. Such a special time of year!

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    1. That's great, Jennifer. You're lucky to be so close to your parents. Hope you have a happy holiday time these next few weeks!

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  18. Hi, Linda. I love reading about your memories of childhood tree-hunting with your grandfather. You're right -- traditions shift over time as we need them to. That kitchen tree is a great idea!

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    1. Thanks Laura. It is a special memory of my grandfather. Kitchens are the heart of the house, really, so the tree just settled right in.

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  19. I always wanted to be from a family that had lots of traditions, but my family didn't have a lot. Think like you, I finally understand that it's not so much about the particular traditions as the attitude I take in and the memories they evoke. Thanks for this important reminder!

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    1. I think our biggest tradition all my growing up was getting together, Carol. And those gatherings are wonderful, at least in my mind's eye. Yep, attitude is everything! Must get together!

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  20. Love your trip to Target also took you down memory lane. Enjoy decorating with your granddaughter.

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    1. Thanks Katherine. It is those little things that mean so much-and yes, that means going to Target too!

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  21. This was so genuine and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. You gave me so much to think about!

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    1. Thank you Jen. That always sounds good, to challenge someone to contemplate something.

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  22. Traditions new and old - little bags of candy with an orange - reminded me of going to church as a young child and receiving a little bag of goodies. Thanks for sharing your traditions.

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    1. You're welcome, Judy. Now you've reminded me of that little bag from church too. Thank you!

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  23. So many of your tree traditions mirror mine. I have a kitchen tree that is actually in our dining room. It holds all kinds of food ornaments and, of course, candy canes. The first year my husband and I were married, we lived in Virginia, far away from family. We drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway and cut our tree down on the land that used to be owned by James Madison. It was the beginning of many years of cutting down fresh trees. :) (Now, we have artificial) It was fun reading about your memories. It brought back many of mine. :)

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    1. How wonderful to hear of another kitchen tree, Julie. I imagine with all the cooks in your family, it must be quite wonderfully decorated. And, it does seem we have some of the same memories-such fun to look in the forest for a tree! Thank you!

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