1. the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
Traditions. We all have them. They help define who we are, which family we belong to and what is important to us. Traditions don’t have to be unique to the individual. In fact, many traditions are shared by a variety of people and their families. What makes them special is that for whatever reason they become more than just an experience. They become memories and symbols that we want to continue in our own lives and pass on to our children. The little details make them our own. They carry a sort of intangible magic that can not be explained.
Traditions are engrained in the Christmas season. They are the reason why so many of us are in love with this time of year. They are what make it feel so enriched, special and full of excitement and expectation. For me, one of the biggest memories I have from my childhood is the annual tradition of going to cut down our Christmas tree. We always went to the tree farm around my older brother’s birthday and often it was what he chose to do with his special day. We went with close family friends for several years. My best friend and I would run around the tree farm, our sole goal to avoid being photographed. It was a game that we loved for whatever reason. Later, once that family moved across the globe, we went with one of my close cousins and her family or even just as an intimate family of four.
There was a restaurant that we would stop at for donuts and later for lunch. I can’t remember the name of it anymore, but I can tell you in detail what it looked like on the inside. I can tell you that I always got a grilled cheese sandwich. I remember the small shop that opened across the street, which sold little gifts and ornaments and smelled of Christmas on the inside.
But, above all else, I remember the tree farm. Running around, feeling the excitement of the season. Sensing the challenge of trying to be the one who would find the perfect tree. I remember watching my Dad cut it down and feeling like all little girls do… that my Dad could do anything. I remember being happy.
I want nothing more than to introduce this tradition to my girls. When Nora was a baby and I was pregnant with Meredith, we did go cut down our tree. I also made my husband go almost every year before we had kids. (I say “made” because this tradition does not carry the importance to him as it does to me.) Since that year though, it has been a challenge to make this happen. We went to Florida for Meredith’s first Christmas, the year after that we were selling our house so we used the small artificial tree from the years we lived in an apartment. This year I had every intention of going to a tree farm, but Dave’s new job and other schedule complications made this impossible. I am not going to lie. I am really sad that it didn’t work out this year. I think the girls would have had a blast.
Instead, I had to settle and we took the girl’s to a local nursery to pick our tree. And while I was disappointed, the girls ovviously didn’t sense the loss of the tradition that I do in that experience. In fact, they loved it. They ran in and out of the rows of trees just like I remember doing as a child at the farm.
Nora was very serious about trying to find the perfect tree.
Meredith found a branch and declared, “I found the PERFECT one!”
It wasn’t the beginning of the tradition I had been hoping for this year. But, it was still a memory. A great one. And if they had this much fun at the nursery, I can only imagine how much fun they will have when I do get them to the tree farm. I am determined to make this tradition a reality for them in the coming years. It’s important to me.