holidays are meant to be spent having good times. celebration and fellowship with friends and most importantly family. my family has its traditions that have been going on for as long as i can remember.
the biggest traditions i can remember are christmas eve night we (my mom, dad, and sister) would venture to my mom's parents house and do our "christmas celebration" the night before. one gift i remember getting as a child was a siren radio. this thing was nothing extravagant. it could tune into the radio, blast a siren, and was a flashlight. i don't know why i particularly remember that present more than others.
the other traditions i remember involve my immediate family. we would wake up to stockings filled with candy and possibly toothbrushes. i always found it weird as a kid to get the poison and the antidote in the same package. my sister and i would usually be the first ones up but we always seemed to follow the unwritten rule to wait for our parents before opening the presents (i don't know of any family that allows their kids to begin opening presents the moment they wake). we would have a breakfast that consisted of all the breakfast meats, eggs, biscuits, and of course coffee. i didn't drink it as a kid though (actually i don't remember the season of my life when i began drinking coffee every morning). we would then move into the living room where we would read the christmas story out of luke and then begin singing christmas hymns...thats right i didn't say carols, i said hymns. this was my dad's grooming. i think it is safe to admit that my sister and i weren't to fond of this particular tradition.
the amount of songs we would sing changed every year. my dad actually had the old baptist hymnals that carried EVERY christmas song imaginable, so we couldn't escape with excuses of not knowing the words. the moment we were able to pressure him into only singing one more song, we usually gave that one all we had, you know, in order to honor him.
looking back, i grasp, not really the value of singing christmas songs, i don't think my dad was doing it so that we could improve our singing capabilities. rather, i see now something that a dad, a father, longs to build within his family unit...a tradition.
a tradition that can be identified by his marking; that can be labeled as "what we do." everyone has theirs, and i love mine as a little lowrie/brister boy growing up. i found myself in that moment this year.
we had our first real, lowrie, family christmas, just me, liz and the boys. i woke up, and thought to myself, "oh my gosh, what am i going to do?" i found myself cleaning up spills, taming zealousness, and helping liz clean up after breakfast and knew that we needed our tradition. dutch is 6! titus is 4! they need something to hold onto for the rest of their life that would cement inside that they were ours for the holidays. traditions do this very thing...the sense of belonging. it's all a working progress. all my have their unique individuality that they bring to the tree.
in a time of questioning and redefining; concern about what we have always done and whether or not should we change it up for the sake of change, i hope that the sense of tradition is never altered. those traditions are what we build on and will continue to build on whether or not we keep them or not. traditions are these sacred icons and for most of us they are our dna. removing that tradition would be like removing a pound of flesh. i think there is a good time for new traditions. i carry the value of tradition because my dad never relented on singing those christmas hymns even when we may have damaged his sense of self worth (for the record it was mostly stephanie who didn't want to sing). because of that i am so eager to continue on a tradition...but a new one, with my family.