Christmas traditions and what they mean to us.

I heard a commercial the other day that talked about how Christmas time brings out certain traditions for all of us. For some, it’s that the turkey must be carved by Grandpa. For others, a particular dessert must be served.

In thinking about the traditions my family had, I think of certain decorations that came out each year. Every December 1st, my mom would get out two large stuffed animals. One was a bear named Peter and the other was a moose named Charlie. As I write about them, I think of how hard it will be for my two sisters and me to decide who will get these two icons of Christmas one day. They’re more than thirty years old and they’re in fine condition, so I have no doubt they will be around in another twenty or thirty years when my parents no longer are around.

What’s funny about Peter and Charlie is that they aren’t typical Christmas decorations. They don’t have green or red on them, nor do they have bells or Santa caps. Simply by coming out every December they became Christmas decorations. I’m sure my mom explained that they were for Christmas only, so that’s what they were. They became so identified with Christmas for us that about the middle of November we would get excited about getting Peter and Charlie out of the attic on the first of December.

Now that I’m married and we now have our own place, we are building our own Christmas traditions. The tricky thing about traditions is that I feel they must become traditions organically. The best traditions seem to just happen one year and get carried into the next year because that’s what you did last year.

One of the best things about traditions is that we often don’t know how they started, just that they remind us of good memories with families and friends.