Make Your Own Traditions with Love

Without getting maudlin or delving too deep, let’s just say my family holiday traditions as a child ran more along the lines of a good Hank Williams, Jr. song. Holidays were just heartbreak all dressed up.

When you meet the right person to share your life with, they make you want to be a better person. Once it happened to me, I realized I could keep blaming the past for the fact that I didn’t like holidays, or I could put on my big girl panties and change it. So every year I forced myself to take the steps to make it better. Reach out. Take a risk. Offer to host a holiday meal. Have a holiday party. Invite everyone to my home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Together we’ve begun to make new traditions and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. And I’ve learned it’s okay if they don’t. Those that work will continue.SONY DSC

Between us we have lots of adult kids and a couple grandkids, and due to divorces they’ve had more holidays like mine than happy ones like my partners. So this is the tradition we’ve created. We’ve been doing it for the past several years and now the kids plan for it, look forward to it and best of all pay their own way to come to it. So we kind of figure it must mean something to them too.

We choose a weekend sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That way the actual holidays are free for the other parent/families and we don’t put the kids in the position of going to multiple houses or having to choose. At least one of every person’s favorite foods shows up on the menu at some point during the weekend. We have a reverse scavenger hunt for charity, and while we do get gifts for the little ones, the only gifts we buy adults are small gag gifts for our white elephant gift exchange, which always seems to engender much laughter and mayhem. All of us are in agreement that spending the cash to be together for the weekend is gift enough since we’re spread all over the country.

Honestly, these days I look forward to the holidays. I can’t wait to see everyone. And I’ve finally figured out the whole feed-you-to-death thing. It’s because cooking the food, serving it, enjoying it together is a labor of love. I’ve learned it’s not about the getting, it’s about the giving. About the love you share freely, whether it’s returned or not. I’m still learning. But, I do know it makes my heart happy to share. And if there’s one thing a romance writer knows about, its love, in all its many forms.

So do you love holiday traditions or would you be just fine without them?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.
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8 Responses to Make Your Own Traditions with Love

  1. Nina Croft says:

    Your weekend idea sounds fabulous, Sutton – hope you enjoy it this year.
    I think I can quite honestly say we don’t have any family traditions at all and I don’t miss them, but then we do live a long way from any family.

    • Sutton Fox says:

      Thanks, Nina! Don’t feel bad, if we didn’t have access to any family, we most likely wouldn’t have any traditions either.

      But I’m looking forward to it and already starting to plan menus, etc. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  2. Our holiday traditions are sometimes stressful, but in the end, always fun. For Thanksgiving, we usually rotate between Vegas and California.

    The one tradition I’ve always looked forward too though is the Open House my parents do on Christmas Eve. Tons of appetizers, the tree all decorated, a search for the pickle ornament on the tree, gifts given to the neighborhood kids, friends, family, finger foods, and cocktails. Every year it’s a blast and every year, regardless of what has happened leading up to that point, we always make sure the Open House happens. It was a tradition my grandmother used to do and it was one my parents always plan to keep going.

    • Sutton Fox says:

      What a wonderful tradition, Moira! Traditions can really ground you, and remind you of good things when everything else gets crazy. I love the pickle ornament. Now I’m going to have to go out and find one so the grandkid can hunt for it. 🙂

      • Moira says:

        When we do that, whoever finds it gets a prize. The neighbors have all come to look forward to that and everyone gets into it. If you do it just right…it will keep them occupied for a bit.

  3. Jennifer Shirk says:

    Aww…that sounds so nice! I love holiday traditions–especially if they aren’t quite “traditional”. 🙂

  4. Sutton…what a wonderful tradition you have started! I love doing the “white elephant” and I wish I could talk my family into doing it.

    We’ve very traditional around here, nothing new and exciting, all the usual food.

    But, you’ve got me thinking about mixing it up a little this year (and thinking could be a bad thing…LOL)

  5. Bethanne says:

    I love this, Sutton. 🙂 Protecting our children should always be a priority. Nice going. It took us a while to figure that out, too.

    Not with family so much, although maybe a little, but with all of the outside elements that seemed to intrude!!

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