I felt drawn to write a holiday blog post, but when I sat down to actually write it, I found it much more challenging than I had expected. How do I write a relatable post about the holidays? If there is one thing that I have learned about this time of year, it is that it’s a personal time for everyone. Some love it, some hate it, but it means something to everyone. So, I decided to share a little about my own personal feelings about the holidays.
For me, the holidays have always meant family: either carving out time to actually sit down and visit with those that I saw everyday or catching up with the relatives that I only saw on these special occasions. With family events come family traditions; and I have always found comfort these, especially the traditions of the holidays. In a strange way, I look forward to all of the traditions, both formal and informal (like the tradition of knowing what was going to be served for dinner, but also the tradition of knowing which relatives would be running late and who would be showing up way too early.)
Thanksgiving starts it all off. Growing up, we usually stayed at home for Thanksgiving. Sometimes we had friends or family over, but we stayed home almost every year. We would watch the Macy’s Day Parade in the morning and then attend our local Thanksgiving Day high school football game; and when we got home, my mother would serve a beautiful dinner on the “good china.”
It was the only time that the “good china” came out; and when I look back on Thanksgiving dinners now, those plates hold some of my favorite holiday traditions. The “good china” was very special to my mother. She took pride in it; and she took impeccable care of it. I always felt a little fancier when we were eating off of it. It made the meal feel very formal, almost like we were at a very nice restaurant. My family and I always appreciated and bonded over all of the effort that my mother put into this meal, but probably not in the way that you would think.
One of the things that I truly love about my family is our ability to not take things too seriously. We have a unique sense of humor that I’m sure not many other people would find funny, but the quirkiness is what creates that feeling of home when we are together.
We knew how special the china was to my mother and how hard she had worked on every piece of that meal, but my brothers and I could never resist razzing her a little bit. We looked for every opportunity during dinner to casually suggest that we were going to use one of the dishes to heat something up in the microwave or offer to load them into the dishwasher when we had finished; and, of course, one of us would always exclaim, “Is that a chip in my plate?!” Thankfully, my mother is a good sport and she would play along with us. She would either pretend to agree with whatever china-blasphemy we had suggested or she would over-exaggerate a “No!” and we would all laugh.
For some reason, this small, silly tradition has stuck with me. Don’t get me wrong, I always looked forward to the mashed potatoes (I have never been able to recreate them quite as well as she makes them) and the pumpkin pie, but the family dynamic when we all sat down together was always the best part for me.
Now as my little family starts our own traditions, I truly hope that a bad sense of humor isn’t genetic, but I do hope that we create enough memories that there is something familiar and comforting to look back on someday.
So, happy holiday season from our family to yours, may it be filled with all of the comforts of familiarity.