Pass Some Down

Do you have a holiday tradition in your family to pass down to your children? Writer Linda Sharp, author of Stretchmarks on My Sanity, shares why passing down traditions is important, no matter how non-traditional the traditions are!
Linda Sharp

What do you want them to pass down?
With the holiday season in full swing, chat room talk among my cyber-friends has turned to the sharing of family traditions. When asked what WE do, I must admit that, momentarily, I was a bit stumped. I wanted to be able to expound on some tear jerking, centuries old, Yule-laden, velvet wearing, "Must-Do ", that we are passing down to our daughters. Sure, we make Christmas cookies, read The Night Before Christmas, and open our gifts Christmas morning, NOT eve, but I really had to stop and ask myself, "What tradition are we giving our children?"

As I gazed across our new box filled living room, it came to me. I typed in, "We have a moving tradition." Several replies of "OHHHHHH, what do you do?", "I have goosebumps ...TELL ME!", and "Should I get Kleenex?" burst forth. I laughed. Obviously, moving had been taken in the wrong context.

You see, literally, the biggest Sharp family tradition is that we MOVE. Due to my husband's career as a hotel manager, we traditionally find ourselves celebrating Christmas in a new state approximately every two years. Our holiday wrapping paper has little United Van Lines trucks instead of sleighs printed on it. And even Santa has to check with the post office for a forwarding address. Traditionally untraditional? I suppose so, but as I thought about it, I realized that our tradition has gifted our family in many ways. For example ...

If we had never left Indianapolis, we would probably now be in possession of the world's single largest collection of checkered flag gift pieces. While in residence there, we received something of an Indy 500 motif every Christmas. I mean, come on, just because you live in the track's vicinity, does NOT mean you want to be greeted by a Mario Andretti toilet seat at two in the morning, that growls, "GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!"

We lived in Hawaii for two years, and I will admit to being hard pressed to come up with a benefit to having moved away from there. As I sat here daydreaming of the warm tradewinds, lush greenery and white sand and pounding surf, my husband leaned over and dropped one word in my ear, "POI". AH, yes, poi. Poi is a traditional Hawaiian food, pounded from the taro root. It is the consistency of loose caulk, the color of an anemic Barney, and in the locals' opinion, makes a great holiday gift.

Moving from Dallas was actually a bit more difficult. Having been there for four years, we had many emotional attachments, one of them being "Grandma " Betty who lived across the street. Not really our Grandma, but a part of the family nonetheless, Betty labored under the delusion that she held the recipe for the best Christmas delicacy since the Wise Men came bearing gold, Rice Krispie Treats, and myrrh. Grandma Betty made prune bars and Grandma Betty would not leave your house until she saw you each eat at least one. She still sends a tin of them wherever we happen to move, but between you and me, regularity is not high on my Christmas Wish List.

Kansas. The ENDLESS jokes from friends afar about Toto and The Wizard of Oz. Don't miss that a bit.

As for our children, the moving has made them very outgoing, easygoing, well rounded little ladies. For instance, our 10 year old taught her class how to play Draedle last week. While we are not Jewish, her good friend in Kansas is. Our eight year old, loves to read about Kwanzaa ... an interest she developed through her friends in Dallas. And as for our six year old, who is on her fifth state? Well, she just thinks that unpacking is the greatest thing in the world.

Her job today was to set up the nativity scene on the fireplace. Now, "beebee jeesus" currently resides ON TOP of the manger, rather than in it, and Mary is surrounded by a petting zoo of both ceramic and PlaySkool farm animals, but the point is she got to help with her new home and SHE is happy. The children do not view our moving tradition as a bad one, and as far as they are concerned, home is wherever we are together.

As for Rudy and I, part of this tradition always includes a check to an escrow company. After coming up with a down payment that includes enough zeroes to induce vertigo, 7 pints of blood, my left arm and four toenails, believe me, we take full advantage of the holidays being right on the heels of a closing.

We can't wait to see their joyous little faces on Christmas morning, as they once again rip open their presents and one sister squeals to the other, "Oh cool, Kendall!! You got mini-blinds!" while the other joyously retorts, "Hey, Culley! A new bathmat! You scored!"

Family traditions ... I get warm just thinking of

Tags: traditions

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