Fun Monday: Holiday Traditions
Deborah, over at The Humble Housewife, is graciously hosting Fun Monday this week. The theme, appropriately enough, is holiday traditions.
I need to thank my dad right now for all his good work going through the family photo albums, scanning pictures, and emailing me. Not only that, he took my demandy-pants requests ("This is great, but do you have anything from 1988?") with good humour. Thanks, Dad-eye.
When I was 8, we moved into our first house of our very own. This was very exciting stuff, even though I was downgraded from the biggest room in the duplex to the smallest room in the house. Having our own house meant we no longer had to share our backyard with the kids who lived upstairs. It meant we didn't have to hear people tromping around over our heads. It meant that for the first time ever, we got to walk down the stairs on Christmas morning and our parents could see the surprise in our little faces all at once.
The Christmas morning procession down the stairs was a finely scheduled and choreographed affair. It didn't matter what time you woke up, you kept your little butt upstairs until it was time to get called down. And there was no stampeding down the stairs either. No, there was decorum, a dress code and order in what became our tradition.
We wore our brand-new Christmas pajamas and proceeded down the stairs in reverse age order. First Youngest Brother, then Middle Brother, then me. Christmas music played in the background and we had to pause momentarily to get our picture taken. Then we could proceed to the exciting business of opening presents, checking that Santa had taken his and the reindeers' treats, and making sure that the Baby Jesus had arrived safely in his crib in the Nativity Scene set.
As we got older, this routine varied only in its minor details. The older we got, the more likely we were to require a wake-up call. (Particularly when my mother, a nurse, had to go to work and we woke up at 4 am so she could have Christmas morning with us before her shift started.) We were less likely to wear pajamas. We were more likely to scowl at the camera's flash and hunch over cups of coffee as we trudged down the stairs.
There were years when I absolutely hated that tradition. I hated the picture taking. I had the cheesy prescribed nature of it. But now, I realise that the tradition was precious and meaningful, even when I didn't fully appreciate it. When you're a little kid, you think your family is always going to be just the same. That you're stuck with these people, like it or not, for the rest of your life. You don't realise that things change, that siblings get married, move away (sometimes thousands of miles away), and create new lives of their own. Things are just never the same again, even if you do all manage to get together for the holidays.
On a lighter note, the other tradition we had was the Most Favourite Present picture. Each of had a picture taken with our most favourite present, and then there was a kid group shot as well. Since my dad couldn't find any truly heinous pictures of me in the stair photos, I had him dig up one of my Most Favourite Present portraits. This is 1988 and the only thing I can say about the mullet, in my defense, is that it was WAY better than the hairstyle I had in 1986, the one that Peter saw in a school picture at my grandmother's house and called me 'Fro Girl for weeks.