Sunday, December 21, 2014

Traditions and Holiday Socks

I'm thinking about my dad and family traditions today as I wear one of my many pairs of traditional Christmas holiday socks.

See, my dad give us (his three daughters) holiday socks for every holiday they possibly make them for--Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, and so on.  Its quite a lot, really.  More than you'd probably think.
Its a funny thing--tradition.  Some traditions are huge, intensely orchestrated affairs.   Some are small and simple.  Some are serious.  Some are light-hearted and silly.   Some are sacred and reverent.  Some have gone on for generations.  Some, like the socks, are fairly new.  I mean, my dad's been doing it for years and years now, but its not exactly something passed down to him by my grandparents or anything.  He started it and now its our tradition.   When a package arrives in the post the week before the holiday I am instantly pleased.  It my traditional holiday socks from Dad.
But, everyone has them, I think, these little acts, actions, and patterns that mark the passage of time.

I love to celebrate traditions in my life, especially family traditions.  I am certainly a "progressive" minded person, but there is something special for me in following traditions and rituals laid down in the past--be it recent or ancient--especially by my direct ancestors.
Here are just a few simple examples that come to mind.

For birthdays, especially family birthdays, I like to bake my grandmother's Wacky Cake recipe.  Most of my recipes have been modified to suit my tastes, budget, or dietary specifications, but this one is exactly like I got it from my mom, who got it from her mom.  I like that a lot.  Plus, its a really good cake!

In our household we celebrate the changing of the seasons on the equinoxes and solstices.  These days have been significant for people for centuries and so we like to commemorate this time, too.  We host gatherings of food, drink, and friendship, sharing in the passage of time with our friends.  This is a tradition Matt and I decided to start. In addition, we also honor more typical, traditional celebrations from our upbringing such as Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

I took Matt's last name when we got married this summer.  I've always liked my last name, but I was happy to give it up and join with Matt's family in this way.  To join with Matt in this way.  It felt right to me. (So, technically this also means that its not "BLD in MT" anymore...but I don't plan to change the blog up.)

We say grace before our meals--whether we're camping, at a restaurant, or around the kitchen table--using a variation on the mealtime prayer from Matt's youth--which is itself a variation of the prayer from German.  Matt's mother once recited it to us in German.

We make cornbread stuffing for every single year for our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter meals.  We really only have stuffing at these three holidays and cornbread is my favorite kind.  Ever since Matt learned this he exclusively makes cornbread stuffing for our holiday meals.  I look forward to it every time.

Matt and I realized earlier this year that we're inadvertently starting a new Independence Day tradition of watching the fireworks with Matt's family.  Matt and I sell tie-dye on the 4th and for two years now his parents and brother have come out to find us and watch them together--of course, Ryan and Bek didn't ever find us that first year, but still, second time was the charm and I hope we keep it up.  I like new traditions, too.
I have always been fascinated by different religious practices and peoples.  I think a lot of that is a fascination with tradition.  Our world is full of such a rich variety of traditions and rituals that its pretty mind-boggling, really.  I think I wanted more of it in my life.  That is why we started saying grace--though to be fair both of us had been brought up with that tradition, but had lapsed in the practice until a handful of years ago.  That is why we started having solstice parties and equinox celebrations.  Traditions like these mark the passage of time.  It marks the transition of one season to the next, one holiday to the next, one generation to the next, and on and on.  It makes me feel like I'm a strand in some sort of historic, global tapestry--one that continues to be woven every single day.

4 comments:

  1. I agree with you about observing the holidays - the continuity with the past, yes. They are there for a reason, and we should change our routines for those days and pay attention to it and enjoy it.

    As for the socks, my friend Cyndi and I have been doing something like that, although I don't have the assortment you seem to! (Today I wore Hanukkah socks in my boots to church - LOL) I also have some birthday ones she gave me and many Christmas pairs. Fun!

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    1. Late in getting back to your comment, my apologies, it slipped away from me at the holidays: I am glad to hear others have their own special sock traditions. I will have to tell my dad.

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  2. Beautiful commentary and the holiday socks have got me thinking!!

    Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

    San x

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    1. Hi, San, forgive my late reply. I sure hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and that the new year is off to a grand start. The snow is melting here. We're looking over the garden catalogs. Its a whole new season of traditions!

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