It’s the holidays!! Time for fun and food and tradition! My debut release, NEVER DESIRE A DUKE, is a Christmas themed Regency romance. In it we see the hero, Claxton, return to his childhood home, and for the first time in years, enjoy some of the traditions of his youth to include eating the housekeeper’s special sugar plums, playing a game called “Lookabout” and wondering what mischief Lord Misrule will get into. There’s also some smooching under the kissing bough.
Just a few weeks ago, my daughter brought home an assignment from school. I bet a lot of you who are parents have seen this one. She had a set of interview questions that she was supposed to ask her family, whether that was Mom or Dad or grandparents and all of of the questions were centered on the topic of family origins, culture and traditions. From which countries did our families immigrate? How do those cultures affect our lives today? What are some of the cultural traditions we continue to practice?
Hmmmm. Well, my family is…er…Germanic and Welsh…from what I’ve been told. My husband’s family is Czech/Romanian/Hungarian. As far as traditions, we…um…eat a lot of kolaches? We’ve been to the SPJST (Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas) a couple of times, and attended some funerals where they play a lively polka at the gravesite.
Quite honestly, I felt a little embarrassed at how sketchy our responses were. We are Americans, yes, but being that we descended from immigrants, shouldn’t we preserve and identify with more of their traditions? With the holiday season approaching, I started thinking about what traditions my family observes, and the reason for that, I admit, is because of my kids. I think traditions give us all a comforting anchor in life, and ensure that no matter how crazy and unpredictable things get, there is something special we can do—even if we can’t come home, to feel like we are home, and loved and with family, even if only in spirit.
I wouldn’t call these cultural traditions, just traditions that are special to our family.
- We go to Christmas Eve services at church.
- We pass the phone from person to person to talk to relatives who are out of state, and can’t be with us for the holiday. Sometimes this is fun. Sometimes, this is torturous. You know what I mean. **wink**
- We know when Santa’s been in the house, because he always leaves a particular song playing on my dad’s old phonograph (or playing on Dad’s Mp3 player, if we’re not at Grandpa’s). Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, sung by Gene Autry.
- We recycle gift bags and gift boxes. This started with my grandmother, who has always been notoriously frugal and a recycler – a quality I admire more and more as I get older. As an example, we have some gift boxes that look like toy soldiers that have been in “family circulation” since the 70s and are now held together with tape. Someone always ends up with a gift in them, and then brings them back the next year. Their appearance is always giggle-worthy.
I could list more, but you get the idea! What are some traditions you or your family observe each year, cultural or not. Serious or silly?