When it comes to the observance of annual traditions one would be hard pressed to come up with a special day or holiday with more than Christmas.
Take Valentine’s Day for example. The main tradition on that February day is remembering to do right by your spouse or significant other.
Memorial Day should be about more than getting a day off from work. While the primary tradition should be to pause and reflect upon those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, sadly in many households that is not the case.
Easter has the potential of having several traditions. For children it can mean receiving new items of clothing and searching for colorful eggs that have been filled with candy. For many adults, Easter means making a rare appearance inside of a church.
Speaking of being given candy treats, that is one of the traditions of Halloween, as is wearing some sort of costume. Yet another Halloween tradition at some residences is to sit in the dark rather than entertain little ghosts and goblins.
In a normal year in Hannibal the July 4 holiday features an assortment of traditions such as a parade down Broadway, mud volleyball, a running event and fireworks after the sun sets.
The traditions of Christmas frequently start before the weather has a chance to take a turn toward frigid. I speak from experience that it is preferable to hang colorful lights on one’s house while the temperature is still warm enough to be performing that task while wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
I carried out that tradition at the Henley hacienda annually for a number of years until some Grinch stole many of the light bulbs one year. While I no longer hang lights on my house, my wife, Nancy, and I have been carrying out the tradition of driving around town and enjoying the light-hanging and holiday decorating labors of others.
While we no longer put lights on the house, multiple strands of twinkle lights still are hung on the 7-foot Christmas tree that we traditionally put up in our living room. Setting up the big tree is a tradition that may be revised in the future. We contemplated going with a smaller tree this year, but decided to go with the bigger tree at least one more year because our oldest son, Caleb, was willing to carry the big tree up from the basement.
During a recent conversation with my youngest son, Jacob, he shared that he still remembers the Christmas Eve tradition that our family had for a number of years of reading the Christmas story from the Bible. With two young daughters of his own I would be surprised if that tradition is continued in Jacob’s home.
One of the silliest, and fattening, Christmas traditions that Nancy and I enjoyed involved splitting a bag of M&Ms while wrapping gifts after we were satisfied that all of our offspring were sound asleep on Christmas Eve.
Another Christmas Eve tradition that Nancy and I observed in order to help keep us awake while preparing gifts for opening was to have a Christmas-themed movie playing on the TV. Typically it was “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Today we might be more inclined to watch something like one of “The Santa Clause” movies. According to a recent survey that showed up in my cyber mailbox, Missouri’s favorite Christmas movie character this year is Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen in “The Santa Clause” trilogy.
Whatever traditions you and your family observe, I hope they make Christmas 2020 enjoyable.