Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What makes a tradition? The same thing happening year after year, whether it is putting up the tree or baking cookies or eating Aunt Sue's heavenly hash.

Family - The tradition of Christmas Eve with the Tidwell family goes way back before my time, there are stories of folks gathering at the Tidwell's house in Atlanta, the older folks playing Santa and playing with the toys in the basement (a pogo stick?), the children listening excitedly through the heat vents (those children being Kay, Sue, and Buddy who are all over age 55 now).

The tradition continued after they moved from Atlanta to the mountains, and still continues long after they are gone. Heidi inherited the house and along with it the tradition of everyone coming over for Christmas Eve. And since traditions do not tend to change much, the same menu is posted every year and everyone knows what to bring, the same thing they brought last year.

Friends - Every year as long as I can remember our family sent out Christmas cards to friends and family. At our house, Buddy started the tradition of writing a Christmas letter 20 years ago. Melissa and Carrie picked up the tradition, sending out their own versions. Now for 2 years in a row Madison has taken over Melissa's letter writing, having fun with it - a sneak peek:

I, Madison, am writing the letter again this year. This year’s letter is going to be a little different, because we’re trying a new way to write the letter. Here we go:

A is for the ...
(the list goes all the way to Z, wait for it!)

Shopping - I don't usually like to shop, and do a lot of online shopping, but this time of year I get to go shopping with my girls, not so much shopping going on as just catching up and having fun, always a pleasure, thanks girls for still taking me along.

Baking - Buddy's mom, Inez, used to make these great ice-box cookies at Christmastime and give them out to everyone, probably the precursor to store-bought slice-n-bake cookies, wonderfully buttery and sugary with tiny pecans slivers inside, the dough would be shaped into a long roll about 1" to 1-1/2" around, wrapped in wax paper, chilled overnight, sliced and baked. This year Buddy is wishing for some of these - I think he just wants to eat the dough which will of course carry him back in time to his mother's kitchen when she would give him the 'ends' of the cookie rolls to eat. Sounds like a tradition worth carrying on, now to find that old recipe...

Music - Listening to the traditional Christmas songs on the radio recently, we started naming all of those singers who are no longer around - Karen Carpenter, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Dean Martin, Burl Ives, Elvis, Andy Williams (no wait I believe he is still alive and kicking out in Branson). You know lots of folks have recorded these classic tunes, so why do they keep playing the old versions? Probably because these are ingrained into our memories, no one can sing Rudolph like Gene Autry or White Christmas like Bing, even Elvis is on the radio this time of year belting out Blue Christmas. Maybe I am just old and remember all of these folks? Or maybe I am listening to the wrong station. Sure, I hear dead people, but they make me smile and remember Christmases of long ago.

Webster: Tradition:

1. An inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior.
2. The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?


The Calico Cat said...

Did I miss the "Z?"

No real traditions for us, I like to use new recipes & do new stuff... (Maybe with Jacob around, we'll start to repeat stuff...)

Linda_J said...

Susan, you write the most interesting posts! I will have to give this one some thought though I don't know that we have any of those etched in stone traditions. Being so far away from our family it has really been dialed way back. Other than the religious implications of the day is about like any other with a bigger meal to cook.

Kermit said...

We all would go to my parent's home and the grand children would do the birth of Jesus and this went on till you were married. Now the grandchildren are grown and most married and "too old" to do the story anymore. It is good we have picture's of all of them from the year's in the robe's and head dress. We still read the Christmas story before we can open the gift's. With 18 grand children and 5 great grand children it is alot of fun for all of us. Merry Christmas u'all!!