We Unitarian Universalists don't have too many hard core holiday traditions. I am a woman in love with tradition, and ritual and sacred stuff. So, in my family we've made our own sacred rituals around the holidays. We do the same things the same way every year.
Some things I didn't intentionally do to create a ritual, it just kind of happened that we visited the Santa at the Mall of America a couple of years in a row.....and then, well that was the only place we could possibly go in the minds of my children! That was where Santa was, duh mom! Those other guys in red and beards were just "helpers". Good thing we moved just as the kids were all old enough to skip the santa bit, that would be one heck of a commute from Seattle to Bloomington, Minnesota just to see santa.
Today is our annual "decorate the tree" day. When we lived in Minnesota we'd have to get the tree a few days ahead, incase it had to defrost. No, I'm not kidding. I have video of a year when we didn't get the tree early--Peter's about four and aiming a blow dryer at a big hunk of ice on the side of the tree.
That's one we should put on youtube.
Once the tree is up and in good condition we put on "It's a Wonderful Life" and eat pizza and trim it. Now we're all pretty close to the same height, so no one gets relegated to the low branches, but Michael does have to do the tall ones--he's the tallest of us. The movie distracts us some, we all stop to watch the part where George is sliding down the hill and lands in the water. We all laugh at Mary not liking coconut. And every year I continue to feel inadequate as a mother because Mary has another couple of babies but still finds time to run the USO. Damn her.
We all feel bad for poor Clarence.
And as the ornaments go on the tree we remember the vacation we were on when we got the birch bark canoe, and the grandmother who made that toy soldier, and the year this baby was born and that baby and the third baby. We remember our first Christmas as a couple and how we both had to work on Christmas Eve.
It's funny, being a real, solid and established family. Us? Really? No way. But my God, I love it.
And every year I cry, and remember that it really is a wonderful life.