Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the non-stop playing of Christmas music in every store and many radio stations has left me in full holiday mode. I am an individual who loves stability and routine, so it should surprise none that I thoroughly enjoy the traditions of this season.
Some of my family traditions are common, some are unique, but they all are what make the holiday season the best time of year. Here I’ll share some of my favorite traditions and I hope you share yours in the comments.
The songs, the holiday classics, or the full feature movie, our family celebrates their entire catalog of Charles Schulz Peanuts. It has become such an embedded part of our holidays that my daughter came rushing into the room when Pandora randomly selected the Linus and Lucy instrumental as she thought we dared to watch one of the movies without her.
While It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a great watch, the magical qualities of the Christmas special have been able to transcend generations. The superficial qualities society has placed on the day still exist as does the ultimate reason for the celebration as Linus eloquently reads from the book of Luke. Everything from Snoopy winning the light decoration contest to the pitiful tree being made beautiful hits the perfect note. My daughter even has her own Charlie Brown tree she proudly displays at her bedroom window.
As is common among many families, the gatherings nearly always include a game that relies on a board and/or cards at some point during the event. Pictionary and Cranium have been the most popular over the years, but Uno, Monopoly, Scene It, Bingo (yes, with a real spinner full of lettered numbers) and other games make appearances as well.
Fortunately, my eldest son has taken my place at the table for some of the games. I am too much of a stickler to the rules for some of the family to fully enjoy themselves during gameplay, while I cannot enjoy the game without a predetermined set of guidelines. Oddly, I am still relied upon to referee any rule decisions that do come up during play as my eldest inherited my competitive streak.
The games can get tense, but we rarely outright argue. Still, it is rare that someone entering the room just after a tilt has finished would not know who won and who lost.
Having time for tea is a bit of a tough go in the normal cycle of the life that has responsibilities at work, home, church, and coaching associated youth sporting events. They happen, just not on a regular beat. My daughter loves them, and I love spending one-on-one time with her, so we have created our own holiday tradition. On every major holiday, I buy a bottle of sparkling grape juice, we bring out the China tea set, and we sit together. Everything else about the tea parties can change, but those are the unspoken rules that we have developed.
This past Thanksgiving, the add-ons were holding her bunnies and having a blind taste test of M&Ms where we attempted to guess the color of the candy purely by taste. While we both completely failed at our abilities to read each other’s mind (the only determination I can forsee being able to properly guess the color in this circumstance), we decidedly succeeded in having a memorable tea party. I only wonder what Christmas Day’s will bring.
Television Control Exchange
Football dominates the viewing experience on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but there has always been a fair trade-off for the girls. Macy’s Day Parade is a must, Black Friday is a sit-in with some type of marathon that the girls select (this year’s was obviously Gilmore Girls), and New Year’s Eve is “Rocking” despite my thoughts of it being rather ridiculous. The College Football Playoffs have attempted to wreak havoc in this delicate balance (semi-final games do NOT belong on New Year’s Eve!), but it appears that future renditions will correct this error.
May the Force be at the movies
The last tradition has come about naturally courtesy of Disney’s desire to reallocate the electrons holding my earnings in my checking account to their allotment. My younger son is obsessed with Star Wars (as in, he has read all of the expanded universe novels, watched all of the animated series, and has the movies memorized) and has a birthday in December. So, when Disney decided that they would have an annual Star Wars movie release in December, his birthday / holiday tradition was born.
While I prefer the Star Trek movies myself, I’m definitely not complaining.