December 15, 2009

Creating A Family Heritage

Hello, Lovely Readers. I am studying and doing a thousand other things today like tending a sick baby. So I am going to bless you with this post, the first of the promised reprints from VIEW. This article was copy and pasted as it was originally printed in the December 2004 issue. Enjoy!

This month we took several weeks off from home school to study the beginning of traditions. Our family, having many curious traditions, was interested to know if other families are the same way. We talked to many people about their own family traditions and dug in to find out how something evolves into part of what makes a family. We also, took time to study our own family traditions to understand our heritage a little better. In this issue of View you will find stories from some of the people we interviewed.

Traditions, we found, begin in many ways. One is that something has always been done a specific way. Pastor tells a story about a lady who, when she would make a roast she would cut a bit off before putting it in the pan. When her daughter grew up she would always do the same. One day her daughter, the first lady’s granddaughter, asked her mother why she always cut off a piece of the meat before roasting it. The mother didn’t know except that was the way her mother had taught her. So very curious now, the granddaughter goes to her and asks her the question. The grandmother replies “I didn’t have a pan to fit the whole roast. “

Sometimes traditions are started because of your tastes in food or your religion. Many people in my family go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve because that is a tradition passed down in their religion as Catholics. Perhaps you have a special food you prepare every year because it is Father’s favorite. No Christmas Eve dinner is complete in our house without shrimp cocktail because it is one of my Pa’s favorite treats and Brianna delights in making it for him. (To try any recipe mentioned in this issue see the recipe section.)

Traditions could also begin when a couple marries. My mother’s Christmas tradition of eating angel hair pasta with anchovy sauce had to be altered because my father hates anchovies. So they began a new tradition and every Christmas Eve we make another traditional Italian dish—seafood stew, instead.

A tradition might be so simply because it has always been done. I make Christmas cookies every year because my mother does and her grandmother did. Other people make Christmas cookies because it seems to be something everyone does this time of year.

Sometimes traditions begin by accident. My family drives around on a December night to look at Christmas lights. This began when my parents decided it would be fun to go look at decorated houses. We were hungry so we picked up fast food and ate while we drove. We all had such a good time it is something we’ve done for eight years. Our favorite is to drive an hour round trip to see the house our Schwans truck driver’s house.

Some traditions, we learned, are passed down, but nobody knows where they originally came from. For example, just about everyone who celebrates Christmas puts up a Christmas tree. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come from the Boy Scouts and from deep in the woods and even from Wal-Mart. They with decorated in all sorts of colors, themes and paraphernalia. Even though many legends explain the history of the Christmas tree in our living room—no one really knows for certain if any are true nor can any one be authenticated. Yet, who could imagine gathering with our loved ones on Christmas day without a tree as the most spectacular of decorations. Or entering a store or office in December without seeing at least a little tree atop a table decorated with dollar store ornaments. Who could wrap a Christmas gift without a tree to put it under.

So most of all what we learned this month is that how little or how big, how simple or how complex, how new or how old traditions at Christmas and the whole year round is what defines a family, makes it special and unique and creates a family heritage that will be the glue to hold a family tight.

-by Kaitlin


1 comment :

  1. Kat,

    Keeping Elizabeth in my prayers that she gets well soon and can begin to enjoy all these beautiful Christmas traditions with all of your family. I think the best one of all is truly spending it with your family!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat