photo courtesy of http://www.christmasquoteswallpaper.com
“OH-and tell her to bring her sugar cookies and the cheese ball!”
My youngest daughter chimed in with her sister, “And what about the Jell-O salad? We have to have the strawberry Jell-O salad!”
I was emailing my sister-in-law, responding to her offer to help with Christmas dinner. I had to smile as my daughters weighed in on what they’d like for her to bring.
I think part of the fun of the holiday season is looking forward to the traditions that go with it. There is just something about the anticipation of what we know and love, be it favorite foods or holiday music or the stockings we hang by the chimney with care.
When my girls were young, I thought a lot about what I’d like for our family traditions to be, but I soon learned this:
Traditions are born, not created.
Oh sure, I’ve consciously created a few: every year we buy presents for a family in need, I take a picture of the kids in front of the tree, and we go to church on Christmas Eve. But the traditions my children look forward to? Well, those just sort of came to be.
-One year I bought each child an advent calendar with chocolate. Every morning they were dying over the calendar. So I finally caved and allowed my ruthless, hyper-excited children to eat their chocolate at breakfast. Guess what we do every year now?
-One time we watched Christmas Vacation together as a family, now we make sure to watch it every year, along with Elf and The Nativity Story (oh and my favorite: It’s A Wonderful Life).
-One year, feeling the pull to reach one of my children, I wrapped up the baby Jesus from our nativity scene and gave it to her as a gift. I included a note to remind her of the gift Jesus is to her each and every day. I almost forgot the next year, until another child wondered out loud who would get baby Jesus that year. Now you can find our Savior under the tree every year.
But here’s my favorite:
One year a friend told me about a house in a neighborhood near ours that was decorated to the hilt. The entire house and yard were covered with lights and the lights were synchronized to music from a local radio station. So one night we drove around until we found the house and then adjusted our radio station accordingly. Only guess what? Pouring through the speakers of our mini-van was rap music. Rap music? Well, okay, I can be open minded…
“Well this is weird,” said my husband, “are you sure this is right?”
I looked down at the post-it note where I’d scrawled down the radio station frequency.
“Yes,” I said, “this is what she said. Why would they use rap music with Christmas lights!?”
“It goes with the lights,” said my youngest daughter.
We all sat in silence, watching the lights to see if they changed along with the beat. In truth, it was kind of hard to tell. But then we heard, well, the kind of lines you hear in rap music. Lines about …well, I can’t even write it. But you know: women, guns and what you do with the both.
“Mom,” said my oldest daughter, laughing, “this can’t be right.”
Again we studied the lights, watching them bob up and down to see if they changed along with the beat. But our silence just highlighted the horrible language I was exposing my then 13, 10 and 4 year old children to.
“Well this is entirely inappropriate!” I said. This one statement caused a round of laughter to erupt from the backseat.
“Bwwhahaha! Inappropriate!” said someone.
My husband, always the voice of reason said, “Okay, you have this wrong. I see a sign in the yard; maybe it gives the station number. Let’s pull up and we can read it.”
And there it was, a sign inviting guests to tune into 106.9, not 105.9. My friend had given me the wrong numbers.
We turned the dial and suddenly there it was: synchronization with good old-fashioned Christmas music. The thought that we were trying to watch Christmas lights to the beat of rap music had us all in fits. I think we laughed forever.
And thus, another holiday tradition was born. Every year we drive to the same house, watch the same show and recount how funny it was the first year we saw it.
May your holiday be merry, your tree be bright and your music be appropriately synchronized.