Monday, January 7, 2013


Everyone has holiday traditions.
When I taught fourth grade, my students wrote about their traditions at Thanksgiving time.

The most cherished Christmas tradition in my family is all about the Christmas tree.
My father has been going to the same tree farm since he was a wee 6 years old.
We go up every first weekend in October to reserve our future Christmas tree.
When we were little, our house had vaulted ceilings and we attempted to pick the tallest tree possible.
Until mom & dad put a 9-foot limit on all our Christmas tree dreams.
The annual family Christmas photograph took place on the same 200-yr old tree stump.
(Apologies for no exhibit.)
In October, the tree farm was usually dry and dusty, sometimes accompanied by warm weather.
Some years, snow crunched under our feet by the time we went back in December
to cut the tree down and haul it home.
As frugal finance-conscience parents, mom always prepared a picnic lunch and we sat around the 
campfire eating PB&J's and sipping complimentary hot cocoa or grape juice.
We remember our years there by the yard dogs that we played with. 
Amy, Sneakers, and Oreo are among the deceased but fondly remembered.
It always seemed like an ordeal (from my small, limited perspective of a child) to get the tree home,
off the top of the car, stump cut, and firmly placed in a stand full of fresh water.
It was like the mountain had to be conquered before the tree could be decorated.
 Alas, as soon as mom strung the (always colored) lights, we girls were allowed to garnish
with ornaments galore, however and wherever we wanted!
But the tradition doesn't stop there.
My parents are affectionately known for their eclectics.  Not weird eclectics. Just eclectic eclectics.
So it is with Christmas ornaments.
I won't go into detail, but no two ornaments are the same. 
Some are gifts from my dad's students while others are from my parents early days of dating.
But each one has a story.
And the three most beloved ones are the most "worthless," but their sentimental value 
earns them a position of honor among the top branches.

Points in case: an egg-carton-glitter-glue-pipe-cleaner bell I made in preschool,
Seed-pod-dipped-in-green-paint-and-covered-in-glitter from neighbor boy many years ago,
and a hand-made-paper-die-cut-decorated-with-stickers 
from an American soldier my parents had adopted last year.

A more recently developed Christmas tradition is the annual counting of the holiday mailers.
Each October 1 my mother begins collecting all the seasonal catalogs that come in the mail.
Each family member estimates of how many will inundate the mailbox by Christmas Eve.
Then we count (usually 2 or 3 times) the final amount on Christmas Day.
The winner has the privilege of treating the losers to Leatherby's Ice Cream.
[Translated: M&D always treat; it's just another excuse to go to Leatherby's.]
 I couldn't help but giggle when I passed by as David & mom sat on the floor counting
and Sarah & Megan sat on the couch pouring over the contents of
what our family refers to as "goodie books." 

Megan (top, right) won the contest this year only one count shy of the actual total of 97.
97 goodie books, people. I suppose it's a reflection of our depth of holiday consumerism.
But at least they're keeping the postal system in business.

 And finally, we have the holiday socks tradition.
It's probably not a unique tradition, and it's definitely not original.
But my mom has this fascination with holiday/decorative socks.
And she attempts to pass it on to her daughters.
Thus, we receive at least one pair of holiday socks with each holiday.
At least we're not to the point of wearing them with our Mary Jane shoes, yet.

And as clearly displayed in the final exhibit, dad has not fallen victim of this tradition.
Maybe because no one makes holiday socks for men.

Maybe he should start an "Occupy Holiday Socks" movement among the male persuasion. Or not.

And there you have it, folks. Two weeks after Christmas and you now know 
the Wright family Christmas traditions. 
Hope your Christmas is as special as ours!

1 comment:

Steve Wright said...

One small correction in your utterly delightful accounting of our holiday traditions. I've been going to the McBurney tree farm since 1966 when I was 7. Love you bunches, too. Dad