The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines tradition as follows:
a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
: characteristic manner, method, or style>
Looking at the definitions and thinking back on my own childhood, I guess what strikes me is how we celebrated the holidays, in particular Christmas. My dad loved to decorate the house for Christmas, and we were often the house on the block with the most lights. Nothing to the extreme of Christmas Vacation of course, but all the lights on the gutters and around the windows along with the two large plastic candles definitely made our house glow in the darkness. Santa Claus always arrived at our house on Christmas Eve, usually when my brother and I were taking a bath or had run to the store with one of our parents. (The sneaky, jolly fellow.) We then opened our presents on Christmas Eve. My mom and dad would make a punch to drink, and the gift opening was a free for all.
After my husband and I were married we began our own collection of Christmas decorations, making a new set of ornaments together each year. We have lots of decorations now, including some of the ones from my mom and dad. When our children were young Santa came after they went to bed, and the gifts were opened on Christmas morning. After they got older, we returned to opening presents on Christmas Eve. One thing that we incorporated in our family was my in-laws far more civilized method of going person to person when opening gifts. Each person gets to savor the moment of unwrapping a present before the next person begins opening one. It definitely extends the whole process, but you get to truly see what each person receives and their reaction to the present.
The last couple of years I have been experimenting with pretty cocktails at our house to drink as we exchange gifts. Ours are shaken, not stirred, and they are yummy!
As I finish this post, I wonder what my children would write about if they were to tackle this writing prompt?