Will I ever feel like an adult? This is the question I find myself pondering every day. As the third child in my family, the perpetual baby of the group, I don’t think feeling like the lead responsible human is in my DNA. That is not to say I am not responsible. I may not like rules [my inner-child resists] but I follow them [also perpetual people pleaser]. When coming up with how to rule my own roost, so to speak, I always overcompensate on making memories. My kids are young, so I refer to these as trial traditions. They have not become tried and true just yet, but that’s why you do them every year, to improve them.
For starters, last year we began making cookies on Christmas Eve with my in-laws. My mother was not the baker. She can cook her way out of any situation but would burn the slice and bake roll of cookies. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This is a tradition loved by many people, because the big guy in the red suit likes fresh cookies on the morning of December 25th. I will keep this tradition alive, since not coincidentally, Santa also resembles an under five-foot, curly haired woman who isn’t going to bake her own cookies in the wee hours of the morn’.
I get an advent calendar every year from the woman who babysat me when I was young. She stopped “working” so to speak when I was like seven, but my relationship with her got stronger and she is now my “grandmother” and my kids’ great grandmother because family sometimes is brought to you in different ways. My Carole, as she is lovingly referred, still gets me an advent calendar, but now I need to share the daily experience with my daughters. The 3-year-old understands, so she is now included on this tradition.
For my last tradition, which I am starting now, I will put an ornament in each of my daughter’s stockings. If I am doomed with a tree that looks like the nineties with kid-made crap, I mean art, and personalized balls from my mom… I may as well add to the madness. And if I hate it, then this one is a trial tradition and it just didn’t work out.
Below are some of my co-workers’ family traditions, in case you also were trying some on for size.
“My husband reads the kids ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on the night before Christmas and we have the stupid elf. Ours is named Al, pretty sure Harper was trying to say elf, but Al just stuck.” – Chrystal Morgante, Senior E-commerce Merchant
“Our tradition is probably singing That Time of Year from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
on repeat. [Editor’s Note: for all the readers who may be a first-time expecting mom, brace yourself for Frozen fever. If you have kids, then I do not need to explain Stacy’s reference here.] We also make a big brunch for Christmas with our in-laws and everyone is in charge of a plate. My daughter Siti made strawberry reindeer last year. I’m excited to see what she wants to do this year – she said she wants cheese. No complaints.” – Stacy Lyons, Visual Merchandising Manager
“We tell our kids if they are good all year that this fat guy in a big red suit breaks into our house on Christmas Eve and leaves presents.” – Matt Green, Manager of Digital Retouching
“My husband Salty and I always go to Midnight Mass. This year we will celebrate Christmas in NJ and for the first time, I won’t be singing solo or as part of a choir, which is weird. When in Wisconsin, I love driving home in the wee hours after Midnight Mass when there are barely any cars on the road and the magic of Christmas morning, particularly in that snow-covered landscape, descends upon me. As an Aussie, for most of my life I celebrated Christmas in 110-degree heat, where we persist in keeping cold climate European traditions. I never thought it was odd (insane) until moving here in 2009 and having my first white Christmas – where suddenly all those Christmassy things like plum pudding, roast turkey, eggnog, mulled wine and snow made perfect sense.” – Lily Bragge, Director of Copy
“We celebrate St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6th) where we put out our stockings. St. Nick brings us a new tree ornament, Christmas pajamas, traditional nuts and fruits, our fave candy and a note. If you had a bad year, St. Nick only brings you coal. And, everyone gets their favorite breakfast on Christmas morning.” – Kara Stickley, Visual Merchandising Manager
“We celebrate Wigilia on Christmas Eve, which is a Polish tradition. Our family waits for the first star to appear in the night sky, so we could share our Oplatek, which is a holy wafer, then we break it and designate wishes to each other. We then sit down and eat a traditional supper consisting of 12 dishes that all have symbolic meaning [too long to explain, but you get the gist.] We account for an extra plate in hopes to welcome someone less fortunate that may stumble upon us on Christmas Eve. My Italian husband wants to do the 7 fishes, but these traditions win. He does get to feast on Christmas Day…” – Klaudia Vitale, Senior Art Director
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah
See you in 2020. – Daina