Traditions Part I

>> Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's a common story really but mine just the same.
I (Allegra) grew up in a broken home.
Broken homes mean there is a lot of opportunity to feel and be different from your friends.
You spend half your life in one place and the other half in another.
One thing that my parents didn't allow us to feel different in though was
Christmas.

However the story goes,
this one is just mine.
Christmas always began on December 23rd.
While other kids waited another 24 hrs until they could hardly sleep
I could hardly sleep on my first of two Christmas Eves.

After a horse drawn carriage ride through a local neighborhood to see Christmas lights while sipping on hot cider and chasing Santa in the sky,
we'd lay our cookies out and anxiously await Santa's visit.

Santa was always so magical.
He would leave signs of his visit in cookie crumbs, reindeer prints in the front yard, or even notes.
He never let us down.Our handmade stockings hanging from the mantle would be filled (semi-regrettably) with tangerines and walnuts and then the presents would begin.
While Chicken-Apple Sausage and Scrambled eggs cooked themselves ;) we'd one by one open each gift just as we'd asked Santa for:
rollerblades or down jackets or new shoes.

I admit-we were spoiled.

Interruptions were welcome only when Grandma would arrive.
As tradition has it: she'd come with modern-vintage Coca-Cola bottles and the announcement that there was a candy cane tree ready to be tackled!You see, the candy cane tree is something dear to me.
Every year the tree down the street would be covered in candy canes.
My siblings and I would line up at the front door and race to the tree and see who would win by pulling down the most candy canes.
(I think I lost every year)

With wrapping paper filling garbage bags and happy kids playing with their new loot,
we'd begin the hard part...
wrapping up Part 1 and packing to fly to Part 2.
While the afternoon always held lunch at a local landmark
and a candlelight service all together
it was at the moment the flames were blown out that the tears would come.
Goodbyes were never easy.
Despite the fact that we'd always have to say goodbye from an airport terminal,
we were blessed.
Parents who didn't claim Christmas as "theirs".
Parents who bent the rules so we never had to miss out.
This is how it should be.
It's not about a specific day.
It's about when you can be a family.

What traditions resound in your heart?
{click images for source}

11 comments:

Laura Ingalls Gunn December 22, 2009 at 6:46 AM  

What a magical story. Kuddo's to your parents.

I grew up in foster care and spent time in 4 different homes. From each home I took my favorite traditions and made them my own. Through the years my children have also been behind new traditions: "Mom, if it is Jesus' birthday shouldn't we have a cake and sing?"
And so we shall.

Lou Cinda December 22, 2009 at 7:35 AM  

What a beautiful post. It gave me chills. While I was fortunate to grow up with both parents, sadly my children do not. But, we have our own traditions that we carry forward and hopefully, they will do the same.

Merry Christmas to you!

Lou Cinda

Katie December 22, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

What a sweet post~Merry Christmas!

blondiensc December 22, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

What wonderful memories Allegra! Wishing you a Merry Christmas, have a wonderful time with your boys! xoxo, Tara

Dandy December 22, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

Well that just got me all kinds of choked up.

How ver wonderful Allegra!!

alli michelle December 22, 2009 at 10:12 AM  

Allegra, this post was so touching & sweet! Thanks for sharing it. Have a happy, merry Christmas!

Tracy is ... Loving Pretty Things December 22, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

mwwwwa.

i personally benefitted from your dual christmas tradition.

i will have to thank your mom and dad for that gift - because it is one I won't be getting this year, and makes the memories of our time together SO MUCH MORE SWEET!

xoxoxo

LuLu December 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM  

This was such a touching post... your Christmas memories are so precious. It has me thinking of my children and i wonder what they will remember of Christmas.Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,
xo,
LuLu

an encourager December 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM  

That was a bittersweet read. My heart ached for you and the zillions of kids today who know just what your heart felt like back then. (I remember the two times my parents announced they were divorcing. I cried so dang bitterly, that both times they relented. My mom endured adultery by my dad so that she could keep her fam together, not getting an apology from my dad till on her deathbed. A saint.) The sweetness was in your Christmas traditions - all of them... a mom and dad who tried to stitch up your broken heart with many blessings at Christmas. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

Megan December 22, 2009 at 10:58 PM  

Allegra, how is it you always speak straight to my heart? I couldn't agree with you more when you say that "Christmas is about when you can be a family". My parents were split too. Christmas eve was spent with my mom singing christmas carols and opening the first round of loot, christmas day with dad and his new family doing the same minus the singing. Not quite a Norman Rockwell but oh well, that's life!!!!
Merry, Merry Christmas!

Lori December 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

Wonderful memories Allegra ~ except for the tears. I cannot wait to hear about part 2.

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