Tradition. It is defined as the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
We all have them. Traditions define us. We pass them along from parents to children, and, we hope our children will pass them on to theirs.
When I was a growing up, we would all pack up into the 4 wheel drive and hunt down the Christmas lit houses. Then, off to the nearest tree lot to find that "perfect" tree. Home to set it up while dad would light a fire in the fireplace. The house lights off while the home was washed in a glow of Christmas tree lights and the burning logs. Years back, I wrote this, and it still rings true:
"The joy of finding that perfect tree for Christmas. It never fails...wandering around from tree lot to tree lot, looking at prices and needles. Back in the day, we as a family would get dressed in our warm clothes and head on down to the local lot with the other families. The scout master would be next to the oil barrel fire while drinking his hot chocolate or whatever it was with the scouts running here or there, trying to sell an overpriced, dead, brown-needled, green-painted tree to those that dared step foot in their presence.
Once finding the tree that mom and dad could agree on (due to many things, especially price) found its way on the roof of our truck, roped down and tied in place, we would go home and have the pleasure of watching dad measure the tree and make adjustments to the trunk. The placement of the tree would begin, then the growling and hushed tones of disagreement and rising tempers back and forth from parent to parent. after the tree was in the "proper" place, the lights had to be strung, another joyous occasion, only to raise blood pressures due to us kids with the promise and excitement of Christmas decorating.
Every year was the promise of an artificial tree and one year it came. I couldn't stand it. i hated, no, loathed artificial trees. I promised myself that i would never have one.
Once married, my wife and I began with our own "tradition". We found our first tree on her parent's property. Others we found on lots peppered around town and on my parent's property. The joy of wandering lot to lot gave way to that of wandering from tree to tree at the local tree farm where "you cut, you buy". Pick it out, pay for it, on the roof rack and roped down, get it home, measure, cut and place. Once in place, I had the task of lighting it. once lit, it was leaning to one side. Proceed to lay on the floor, adjustments made..."too much, not enough, this way, that way, hold it here, wait, go back." Every year, the growling and hushed tones between my lovely bride and I.
This year, an artificial tree has sprung up in the corner of the livingroom..."
Christmas Eve was spent over at my mom's mom's house. There was a massive Italian spread consisting of lasagna, meat balls, garlic bread, and much more. We would spend the evening ripping apart the colorful and bright wrapping paper, opening presents to see what we received that year. On Christmas day, it was spent over at my dad's mom's house, where we would spend the day eating, opening presents, and more eating. The drive home that night would cause us all, but dad and mom, to fall asleep, only to be awoken to, "we're home, wake up so you can go to bed."
Those traditions are no longer; new have replaced old.
December is full: Christmas movies. Christmas baking. Christmas cookies and treats. Most importantly: Advent.
On Christmas Eve, we have our Christmas Eve Bible study. Beforehand, we, as a family, hand out candles for the candlelight service. Greeting people that we see on a weekly basis, and others that we saw last year.
After Bible study, home; a single present to open on Christmas Eve: new pajamas for the kids to wake up in on Christmas morning.
Coffeecake for breakfast on Christmas morning after presents opened. Family.