I took my two girls to the ballet. Just as my mother took me most years of my adolescence. It was entrancing. No words, but storytelling in abundance. Not much plot, but who cares? It's The Nutcracker! I was seven-years-old and lived with my family in Portland, Oregon the first time I saw this production. My mother said that I turned to her at intermission with huge, star-struck eyes, whispering, "This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my whole life!"
Every time I watch Nutcracker, I'm seven again and still filled with wonder at the kind of beauty that life doesn't usually provide. I am drawn in from the first musical note to the last curtain call.
As you can tell, I'm a sentimental creature of tradition. For as long as I can remember, we've had a dinner of waffles with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream on Christmas Eve. This year will be the same. After a family program, we'll give the children one gift. A new pair of pajamas. Come rain, sleet, shine or tornados, we always have new pajamas on Christmas Eve.
After presents tomorrow morning, we'll eat banana and pineapple soup, breakfast casserole, and croissants filled with chocolate. For dinner? Fresh-from-the-Oregon-coast crab salad, yorkshire pudding, and prime rib. I know, it sounds like a lot, and it is. But this celebration is only once a year, right? (Plus, I now have a gym membership!)
Traditions. They really aren't about repeating the same activities over and over. They're about creating happy ties with the people you love. And memories that last longer than time and change.
Happy twenty-forth! What are your favorite holiday traditions?