It's tough to know what to expect sometimes. The speed of life these days seems to leave many of us much closer to uncertainty than certainty.
But thank God for the holidays - we always know what to expect around this time of year.
Damn, Andy - 2004 called, they want their sentence back.
Fair. It's more than fair.
Growing up in my family, we lived for traditions. Every holiday on the calendar had a ritual associated with it. Heck, most of them had a few. I don't know if any actually ever said this, but it was something like,
"The first time it's new, the second time it's a reunion, the third time it's a tradition."
But over the years, especially in the past decade, my family's rituals and time-honored traditions have changed. Mostly for the good, mind you, but I can't help wishing for some things from the past.
For Thanksgiving: against all odds and judgments from others, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce was brought out uncut as a cylinder showing off its ridges. It is better than any homemade recipe. Ask anyone I've spent Thanksgiving with over the past decade - I'm bringing my can.
For Christmas: my family took turns giving a gift. We started from the youngest person in the room and worked our way up the age range. Once we'd made it through, the youngest would give again. It put the focus on the gifts you were giving and gave you a moment with the person you were giving to.
New Year's Day: my family hosted the Ellwood Family Pancake Breakfast on New Year's Day for 40 years (1978-2018). From the time I was in high school in the late 90s to its finale, we averaged over 100+ people in our home each Jan 1st. Our ritual became everyone's ritual. There are children alive today who didn't know a New Year's Day without Ellwood family pancakes for the first decade of their lives.
I am curious: what rituals did you grow up with around this time of year? Which ones have stood the test of time? What is a new ritual that you've started? What is a new ritual you are hoping to start?
I'd really love to hear what rituals you have. Send me a quick note?