Thursday, September 07, 2006


A recent conversation that I had lead me to think about some of the traditions that we'd like to have in our new family. Many of the traditions that come to mind involve some kind of holiday. Growing up Christmas had lots of traditions - and we hope to continue at least some of them with our future child.

The Christmas traditions started in the beginning of December. Every year my mom would purchase an advent calendar - one of those "count down to Christmas" calendars with little doors that open. Every night, after dinner, my mother would take the calendar off the wall and I would carefully open the door to see what was behind it. Most of the time the little door would reveal little pieces of chocolate shaped like Christmas trees, presents, etc. I loved it! Occasionally, I'd try and convince my mom to let me open up other days as well. I guess she new that opening up other days would ruin the fun because - as I recall - I can't remember her ever letting me open up an extra day.

One Christmas tradition I don't think we'll be able to continue (at least not in Atlanta) involved picking the Christmas tree. As I think I've mentioned before, I grew up in a rural part of Maine, and my back yard was literally acres, and acres of Christmas trees. Every year my parents and I would put on our snow suits and trek out into the woods to find the perfect tree. When I say perfect, I mean perfect. It usually took hours. I'm probably exaggerating, but as a child it sometimes felt like we walked miles. We'd spot a tree that looked good. Make a mental not of it, and then move on to see if we could find a better one. Then, when we'd seen so many trees we could hardly remember the first we'd decided - as a group - which tree was the best. We'd hike back to the chosen tree (through the snow) and my dad would cut down the tree. Then we would all work together to carry the tree back to the house. This was often a difficult task because not only we're we usually fairly far from the house, but we were also trekking through a foot of snow. After we got the tree into the house, and onto it's stand, we'd all sit down and have a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be able to recreate this tradition in Atlanta. First - no snow. Second - I doubt that the city of Atlanta would appreciate us cutting down trees in the park. hahaha

Perhaps one of our favorite traditions is the actual decoration of the Christmas tree. Later the same night that we cut down the tree we'd all work together to decorate the tree. All of our Christmas decorations were kept in an ancient, wooden box. Every year, my mom would un-pack the box one ornament at a time. A lot of the ornaments actually doubled as family heirlooms, and as such would have stories that went along with them. My mom would re-tell the story of how this ornament had been made by my great grandmother, and this ornament had been purchased for my first Christmas, etc, etc. John and I both look forward to decorating the tree with our future child... we can't wait!

There are lots of other traditions we're looking forward to continuing, many of which don't involve holidays - having pancake breakfasts as a family, etc - but the holiday season certainly brings back lots of memories... and lots of hope for the traditions we hope to start soon!!


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