One of my Dad’s favorite movies was Fiddler on the Roof. You might be inclined to think my Dad was a fan of musicals. He wasn’t at all. My Dad admired the leading character’s value for tradition and family. Dad had such respect for the customs of the Jewish people, and while there are multiple themes from the story, it was the father’s strong desire to preserve those customs and traditions that made this movie a household favorite. While I didn’t grow up in a home with strong religious customs, we did have, what I would consider, a few traditions. And those traditions were always associated with this time of year. My Mom loved to host a big Thanksgiving for our family and friends. Dad and I would tease her that she wasn’t happy unless fifty people were there. But there was a bit of truth in it. Mom loved large gatherings. On Christmas Eve we always went to my Aunt Sarah and Uncle Roy’s. Again, it was a large gathering with delicious food. Everyone would visit and laugh; it was so loud, but with the happiest sounds heard when families come together. It was the sound of delight to be together, joy in one another’s company, and love.
Seasons change and so did our traditions. The first big change occurred when my husband and I married and we attempted to blend it all together. More changes came along with each child. And the last big change took place when I began working as nurse. Our holiday festivities are tailored around my unit’s holiday schedule, but it’s an accommodation my family makes out of their support and vision for what I do.
Throughout all the changes, adjustments and accommodations, my husband and I have been able to maintain one tradition we set on our very first Christmas back in 1999. Cutting down our Christmas tree. I grew up with an artificial tree, so it was quite exciting to me to experience picking out a tree, tying it to the roof of the car, and bringing it home, smelling the aroma of a fresh tree throughout the Christmas season.
And keeping with tradition, that is what we did yesterday. We kicked off the Christmas season at the Christmas tree farm. On the drive, random thoughts filled my mind. One of them was about the dad who thanked me for taking care of his baby the day before, on Thanksgiving Day. I spent Thanksgiving maintaining my focus on the fact that I had four healthy children at home. My shift would end and I would leave to drive home to a relaxing, comforting place. Many families didn’t have such a blessing this year. And there was one of them, expressing his thankfulness for people to take care of his sick baby. It was so touching to me that in the midst of his baby being in intensive care, he acknowledged that I was away from my family to be there with his.
Whichever tradition, whether it was Black Friday shopping with the girls, putting up lights on the house, catching another football game, conjuring up recipes from Thanksgiving leftovers, or getting a Christmas tree, it all comes down to who you spend it with. Sometimes modifications are required, but it’s a small adjustment to make considering the big picture.
The Grinch had to steal Christmas to think “of something he hadn’t before!
The Whos down in Who-ville still had something to sing about when it was all stripped away. So whether or not there's lights and presents, food and games, whether it's an official holiday or a postponed gathering, we all have a reason to sing!
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