Family and traditions

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Samantha DeForest

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It always has been and always will be. The pro-con in the second issue was about putting up Christmas decorations before or after Thanksgiving, and just talking about the winter holiday before Turkey Day genuinely freaked me out. I’ve always had a soft spot for tradition, and quite frankly, I don’t handle change well.

At all.

My family has a ton of amazing (and even some embarrassing) traditions with which I have grown up. Every Christmas, I made reindeer food—which is really dry oatmeal, rainbow sprinkles and glitter—with my parents and spread it on the deck for their midnight snack (it magically disappeared by morning), and my mom put on red lipstick and kissed me while I was sleeping so that I woke up with a “Santa kiss.”

Every Easter, the Easter Bunny wrote me a note and signed it with a paw print.

Every Columbus Day weekend (until I went to college), my parents took me to a local farm to make a scarecrow.

And every Thanksgiving, we open up our house and host Turkey Day for about twenty people. The guest list changed as my cousins got older and started getting married—thus having to split their time with their spouse’s family—and started having children and we began inviting friends who don’t have a big dinner to attend.

We do two rounds of food and walk off round one between football games. The food is always the same, featuring all of my favorites: my mom’s special recipe for the turkey and life-changing, delicious apple pie, my grandfather’s congo bars (by far the best dessert ever created), my aunt’s cranberry bread that no one can find except me (I plead the fifth) and my grandfather’s stuffed celery.

One year, my mom tried making an apple cake instead of pie. It did not go over well with me. Needless to say, she now makes two pies: one for the family, one for me.

Change, especially changes to my favorite holiday or big ones to life in general, are really difficult for me. I want everything to stay the same forever. I want my mom to make French toast while I open presents on Christmas morning and my dad to hide the Easter eggs (and lose some) for the annual hunt. Two years ago, I was devastated when the Easter egg hunt ceased to exist because I, at 19 years old, was the youngest participant; my cousins in their late twenties were getting some funny looks from the neighbors.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

We still have holidays, and my family still gets to celebrate together, but things have changed as I get older. We as college students have to face these realities all the time: parents stop sweeping reindeer food under the deck after you go to sleep on Christmas Eve, cousins have to spend time with their spouse’s family and we get boyfriends or girlfriends with whom we want to spend part of the holiday.

We’ll all have to get real jobs or go to graduate school. We’ll have to move out someday in the not-so-distant future. We’ll eventually get married and start our own families with our own traditions. So for now, we should enjoy what we have with our own families and appreciate those traditions. They won’t be the same forever, and some of the people we love won’t be there forever.

It’s sad to lose certain traditions, but I’m also looking forward to sharing memories of my childhood, giving Santa kisses, making reindeer food and making my own traditions someday with my future husband and three perfect children (just kidding…sort of).

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