A Positive Spin on 2020’s Effect on Holiday Traditions
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If I had to guess your holiday plans, like the rest of the year, are turning out a little bit different than in years past. Same goes for us over here in the Deleo house. With my birthday on Christmas Eve and then The Big Day less than 24-hours later we’re used to having a lot of family around with big dinners and lots of exchanges.
Unfortunately, 2020 has meant we had to cancel our annual Holiday Cocktail Competition, we’re having to do smaller family get-togethers (which are still pending how things look in about 3 weeks), and all of our shopping is being done online. Of all the things we’re losing though my biggest disappointment is the loss of some of our holiday traditions. I love a tradition. It’s something about the normalcy, the stability, the reminder of joy and good times that makes traditions so important to me. At first I was sad thinking of missing out on our annual party and cookie baking with my grandmother but as I was standing in the kitchen last night eating an orange something dawned on me: not all traditions have to be lost.
Now you might be asking yourself “What was so significant about eating an orange?” Well, I’ll tell you. My mom worked an earlier-than-average schedule so she could go to night school. That meant my brother and I spent every morning before school at my grandparents house. My mom got us up, got us ready, and dropped us off at their house on her way to work for breakfast and to catch the bus. My grandad was typically the one who made our breakfast and took us to school or stood with us at the bus stop. In the summer my grandparents always had cut strawberries with sugar for breakfast, but in the winter they always had oranges. My grandad was part of the Lion’s Club and one of the fundraisers they participated in was buying a box of oranges from the Boy Scouts. My grandad would purchase it and this giant box of oranges would sit in the garage where they’d stay nice and cold. Every morning he’d pull two oranges out of the garage, cut them in half, then slice every quadrant so you could eat them the way you might eat a grapefruit. We’d sit at the table with our orange halves, one in a bowl one on a plate, eat each little triangle with a tiny spoon, then squeeze the juice out and drink it from the bowl. It was my favorite part of winter mornings.
After eating oranges like this every winter for 20 plus years its hard for me to eat an orange any other way. So, as I stood in my kitchen last night, cutting my little triangles of orange so precisely, I smiled thinking about all those cold mornings on Golf Drive when my grandad would cut my oranges before school. Prepping the orange myself still brought me joy because the memory of this daily winter tradition is what made my smile, not the actual orange. At that thought it started to dawn on me that our holiday traditions may look different this year, but it doesn’t mean they will bring us any less joy. The fond memories of years past still exist and with technology we can still enjoy some of our favorite activities and continue making memories, just from a distance.
So if you’ve been down at the thought that you might be missing the annual gift wrapping party at your mom’s, Boxing Day Brunch at your sister’s, or won’t physically be there to open gifts Christmas morning try to remember how fun all the previous years have been. Take this year to reflect on all those lovely memories. Maybe even start an email chain with your family or friends about your favorite memory of a certain tradition. It could be fun to relive some of the good times and hear some stories you may not have before.
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. Enjoy your time.