Holiday Traditions

We finally started to dismantle our Christmas Cheer this past weekend.  I say “started” because we were not entirely successful, but I already went into that in this post.  As the tree came down and the ornaments made their way into their boxes (I always feel a little grinchy doing this – except I’m shoving the tree down the basement stairs instead of up the chimney), I got to thinking about traditions, specifically, holiday traditions.

The older I get the more appreciation I have for them.  I’m kind of a bloom-where-I’m-planted sort, so I was never incredibly enchanted by the idea.  And I didn’t grow up in a house that had strong holiday traditions anyhow.  But these days, I often catch myself looking forward to them.  A few, though, I’ve grown particularly fond of.

Holiday Inn

Every year, on Christmas Eve, we watch Holiday Inn.  At first, I just thought it was wonderfully wholesome and a nice escape.  Ok – I’ll admit – the first time we watched it, it was just a nice excuse to curl up on the couch together.  And let’s try to see the Lincoln’s Birthday scene in the cultural context in which it was made (even bearing this in mind, I always cringe when it arrives). But over 10 years, it’s really grown to be something I really look forward to every year.  If you haven’t seen it, rent it today – who cares if it’s Christmas or not.

Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale in Holiday Inn (1942)


We don’t collect too many things (in fact, we are pretty strongly anti-clutter), but every year, sometime during the year, we buy a special ornament.  It isn’t always symbolic in any specific way, but rather just one we really like. Sometimes we find it on a trip we take that year.  Twice, we’ve received it as a gift from friends.  Once we even found the next year’s ornament for two bucks at one of those after-Christmas sales at Crate & Barrel. One of these years, I’m going to photograph all of them for posterity (not to mention to keep track of which one goes with which year). It’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to get to, but I wouldn’t dream of digging through all those boxes at another time of year.  Here’s this year’s find:

Ornament 2009 - click the image to see the original on Flickr

There’s nothing in the photo to give it context, so for reference, this little guy’s just a little over an inch tall and hand painted on a tiny gourd.  I picked him up on a trip to Vermont this summer.  I realize I’m using personal pronouns to describe a gourd, but I’d ask for a pass on this one – it’s a really cute gourd.

This one’s from a couple of years ago – I just took its picture because it was laying on the table and I liked how the windows were reflected from camera left. I particularly like how you can see much of the room reflected, but you can’t clearly see me with the camera. Wish I could claim this was painstakingly planned!

Purple Reflective Ornament

Click the image to see the original on Flickr

Christmas Lights

I grumble about putting them up right after Thanksgiving, and even more when I take them down after New Years, but I have noticed that I enjoy seeing the house lit when I come home at night.  Which is every day during the holidays, since it gets dark at like 2:30 p.m… I had a particularly interesting time of it this year – more on that in this post.

Welcoming 2010

Maybe nostalgia grows with age – seems as reasonable an explanation as any.  I am, after all, headed for another birthday in a couple of days.  I suppose it doesn’t really matter why, though – I just know that I’m already looking forward to unboxing old traditions (and welcoming new ones) in the years to come.  Happy New Year, all.

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