Holiday Traditions

I love the holidays. I have my parents to thank for this holiday amour. My mother was an interior designer and each year she would have the entire house elegantly adorned right down to the grande finale of the Angel Hair on our tree. “Don’t touch it, it will cut your hands”, I’m still not sure if she was really referring to the fact that Angel Hair is made of fiber glass or if it was just her way of keeping our grubby little hands off of the tree.

My dad would sit in his lazy boy style chair with his scotch and water, that I had probably prepared for him, and gaze at the tree for hours. I don’t know where he went off to as he sat there day dreaming but wherever it was, he was extremely content. We were that house in the neighborhood where an impromptu gathering would happen at any moment so I have many memories of our home being filled with people having a good time. It’s recollections like these that make me so fond of the holidays.

Goodies adorn my kitchen counter in pretty apothecary jars.

Over the years, I have established my own traditions for this wonderful time of the year.

First, I always buy my tree, haul out and set up my Christmas paraphernalia the day after Thanksgiving. This is always such an exciting time for me….until about the 7th box being handed down to me by my husband ~ hanging out of the attic opening shouting expletives asking why I have so much holiday crap. It takes almost the whole weekend to set it all up between the inside and the outside of the house but when it’s done, I take a moment, and like my father, I just sit and stare at the beauty of it all.

Antique ornament from my husband's grandfathers tree.

Ornament from my trip to the Space Shuttle launch earlier this year with my nephew.

Another tradition I have is that I collect ornaments as keepsakes. I always purchase an ornament from anywhere I travel throughout the year as a reminder of my visit. Over the years, I have collected ornaments ranging from California, throughout the US to Europe and beyond. It’s always such a pleasant surprise to pull out the ornament and be reminded of the trip I took to that location. A likewise tradition, is an annual ornament exchange with my girlfriends. It’s always a fondue dinner, wine, good conversation and the exchange of the ornament. There are funny stories to be told of these exchanges but, better yet, loving memories of shared times with my dearest friends.

My antique Santos collection ~ this stays out all year.

Another love of mine, my Santa collection.

This year, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the holidays since my mother passed away in May. As I unwrapped all my ornaments and goodies, I didn’t realize how many my mother had given me over the years. Each one made me smile as it made me think of her. She is with me here this Christmas as always, only this time instead of sitting in my living room, she is embedded in my heart and is reflected in each item she hand picked for me. The angel on top of my tree this year represents her presence.

Enjoy your holiday season. I would love to hear what some of your holiday traditions are or favorite memories.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Traditions

  1. I love how you and Vicki carry Gail’s traditions on and have such sweet memories, Susan.
    My boys’ and I have a cool tradition…the day before Xmas we make something out of the Roald Dahl Revolting Recipes Cookbook. He was the author of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, etc. Each recipe in the book is linked to one of his stories and they are really fun. So far we’ve concoted Fresh Mudburgers, Candy-Coated Pencils for sucking in class and Stickjaw for Talkative Parents. Now that they are older, our newest tradition is to sneak into the Festival of Lights at Vasona on foot and try not to get busted by the rangers 🙂 Keep on writing!

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