Saturday, January 3, 2015

Winter Traditions

Aside from going to see the tree in NYC every year, there are a few other traditions that happen every time the cold weather hits . It's funny how one year you decide to do something, and the next it becomes tradition. It's as if there is no way that you can let this year pass without doing it. It never has to be some grand event either, it can honestly even just include yourself - whether it's watching a movie every Christmas day, or eating a special meal on New Year's Eve. Sometimes, though, traditions just stop... it could be because you've grown out of it, you can't seem to find the time, or you just don't want to do it anymore.

I created a winter to-do list this year, of things I wanted to do, which included obvious things like seeing the tree in the city, making a gingerbread house, and driving around aimlessly looking at Christmas lights. Needless to say, when winter rolled around and the holiday seasons snuck up on me, I ditched the to-do list, and decided that whatever was to happen, would happen, and I didn't need a list to check off in order to make memories with my family and loved ones. As you saw from my last post, Sal and I did make it to the tree, and we even got to look at Christmas lights together! We drove around staring at the bright, shiny lights that made the streets feel magical. Sal knew a couple of special places where the lights covered every inch of the house. We even decided to have a contest of who could find the most penguins, and to be honest, we found quite a few christmas pigs in the process. (I won, in case you were wondering). We talked all night, and stopped to pick up some hot chocolate, which is the perfect drink to have when you're in your nice warm car, staring at the lights. We got to thinking though, how weird it would be if you drove around and stared at people's houses on any night during the year... how it's not creepy when there are lights on the houses... but how creepy it'd be coming to a stop in front of a house to just stare... weirddddd.

Not only did that tradition continue, but I was able to make my grandma's cookies with my mom, brother, and cousin. It used to be my mom who made them for the holidays, and then my brother joined in, and quite recently I have helped out. We added my cousin to the list this year, and it just made it that much better, that much memorable. To make these special cookies though, it takes at least three days... one day to make the dough, which must be chilled at least overnight... one day to bake them, and another to ice them. We were all able to make the dough and bake them together, making silly comments about the other ones dough like we were in competition with each other. Eventually putting Elf on, the movie that must be playing when we bake them, and watching the oven, making sure not to burn them. 

It didn't even matter when some of the cookies came out funny looking, what mattered was that we were continuing my great grandmother's legacy, and baking cookies that were in my family for generations, for our loved ones to enjoy. We were baking them together, creating our own memories, as she had with those who she baked with. These everlasting memories will be what we remember, not the way the cookie tasted... okay maybe that too, because these cookies are really that delicious.

Some traditions fell through the crack this year, like our gingerbread contest, but we just didn't have time for it. We bought the gingerbread houses, and then every time we had tried to plan to put them together, someone had something else to do. We even tried doing them after Christmas, but at that point, no one really was in the spirit to do them. We figured we'd save them for next year, because who really eats a gingerbread house anyways, right? So it's not like they'd go bad. There's always Christmas in July!

Traditions truly teach us more about ourselves each year... what we're willing to hold on to and continue, and what we push aside and forget about. What's really important to us will continue on, and what isn't will be forgotten. 

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