Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 Things Tuesday -- Holiday Traditions

Although much of the luster has faded from the celebration of Xmas, there are certain elements of this holiday (and others) that very definitely make them more meaningful and enjoyable. Here are ten of them:

1) Black Friday. I don't start thinking about Xmas until after Thanksgiving is done with but, when the time is right, I like to jump into it with both feet! I have a tradition of going out early-ish on Friday morning, getting breakfast and heading to the mall. I don't do this to take advantage of sales or do any real shopping; I just go out to immerse myself in the spirit of the season. And people watch! I love to just watch people do their thing at the mall, and rarely are there more people to watch than on the day of Thanksgiving. NOTE: I did not get the chance to do that this year because we were with my folks, which might account (at least in part) for why my attitude toward the holidays is so subdued.

2) Evenings until Christmas Day. Sitting in the softly lit living room with Theo all dressed up (Theo is our ficus tree, who doubles as our Xmas tree), listening to good holiday music or watching It's a Wonderful Life just radiate all the best things of the season.

3) New Year's Eve and New Years Day. Wifeness and I have been celebrating our anniversary with the Wayfarer Community on this date for 432 years (give or take), and it has taken on a life of its own. We've done a culinary theme for many years, we (those who have stayed up) always go outside just at midnight to quietly wish each other a special year ahead (going back inside almost immediately because it's arsefreezing cold outside), and then there's Fatty's. It's a wonderful, special way to commemorate our year of wedded bliss!

4) Chinese New Year. Of course, we bring in all manner of Chinese food, and our little lion does its annual dance of blessing (complete with lion dance music). It's nothing like what you'd see in Chinatown, but our humble way of paying homage to the culture of Shaolin helps keep our house connected to some very important and special people.

5) Memorial Day Weekend. This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer at Wayfarer House and, as such, the beginning of the grillage season, as well. For me, personally, it's also the beginning of the long and exhausting annual trek that is my school year.

6) Graduation Night. I wear a tie only twice a year for my job, for Parent's Night (but not the last two years because I've run straight from the soccer pitch to the classroom) and Graduation Night. Graduation at my school is special for a lot of reasons, but this is the day that I say a formal good-bye to my students. I give them hugs, tell them I love them and reiterate that, although my role as their classroom teacher may have ended, I am still there to support them in any way I can. I'm very honored by the number of alumni who continue, even years later, to renew, expand and strengthen their relationship with me into something mature and reciprocal. It is a testament to the value of connecting with students as people first.

7) Father's Day. On this day for many years, Wifeness' family gets together at a local lakeside camp for the annual lobster feed. The big table is unfurled (seriously, this table is like 15 feet long!) and everyone brings a dish, their lobster (or other food, as desired)... In recent years, I've taken to biking from Wayfarer House to the lake for this event (a hilly trip of some 30 miles). It's two hours of nothing but me and the quiet sounds of country roads, which is really about the best way to celebrate being a papa.

8) Fourth of July. The other gathering day at the lakeside camp, but without the lobster. I bike to the lake this day, too, usually, and the water is usually warmer by then, so there is more swimming.

9) Family Reunion. The second weekend in August is always set aside for this event. Its location and attendance vary according to the year, but it's an opportunity for all of that branch of Wifeness' family to come together and renew their ties. My family has no such traditions, and I'm grateful that my girls are able to be part of this. It strengthens their concept of family and encourages other, less dedicated members of the bunch that to be active members.

10) Thanksgiving. Regardless of where it's celebrated, the chance to get together with family (given and chosen) and appreciate all that I have is special. And sure, copious amounts of turkey and football are great, too!


the passionate hairdresser said...

Hey! I've managed to stay up two (2) years in a row!!! Although, admittedly, just barely, and I've only done the outside thing just once....but I can't think of a better way to ring in the new year and celebrate your anniversary at the same time!! I don't think we'd ever be able to miss a year...the new year just wouldn't start out right!!

Wayfarer said...

We love it that you are an institution at New Year's -- Whether you last past 10pm or not!