In the story, Fiddler on the Roof, there is a song, “Tradition!” which, in thought, is applicable to all religions and cultures.
Christmas Eve was full of traditions in my family. We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, with the morning bringing only filled stockings and whatever else Santa might have delivered during the night. And while Christmas Day was family-filled fun, even as my family got smaller, it still had its traditions. There was always a special meal, we always played “Silent Night”, sometimes I played it on the piano and later, I played a record, a cassette and then a CD. But it had to be the preamble to opening gifts. There were always Christmas cookies and milk – coffee sometimes as I got older – after the wrappings were disposed of and we’d watch the dogs playing with their new toys.
My husband’s death left me alone to carry on the traditions – which I still do. Which I find I must do. To do otherwise would be a violation of the highest order. Something special for supper, toys for the dogs, “Silent Night” as the preamble to gift opening- which now takes very little time being an old lady alone. But still, milk and cookies are a must afterwards. I don’t know that I’ll hang my stocking this year. Santa doesn’t have a helper in the house, but I will plan something nice for Christmas breakfast. And then, as I have for the past 41 years (missing last year due to COVID) I will spend the day with friends who have become a family to me as I’ve watched two generations be born and grow into adulthood. We share so many memories – the turnip that wouldn’t get cooked, jokes that get repeated every year, and stories about how my husband Alfred always said yes to all the offerings when dessert time came around.
Yes, tradition is important, It’s the glue that holds one together when things might otherwise seem to fall apart. Merry Christmas everyone and to all a good night – and a good year of maintaining traditions in the days and months ahead.