Friday, November 13, 2009

First Annual Traditions

It cracks me up when I see something written as the "First Annual" anything. Something can't be annual until it happens at least twice. The first incarnation of a-hope-to-be-annual event is simply the first occurrence. It's a one-time thing. In the second year, something could be called annual, and by the third year, sure, but not in the first year.

I've been thinking about traditions lately and the traditions I've been forced to face. We broke a few traditions at our wedding. We didn't have a garter or bouquet toss, nor did we have a vocalist sing songs or a big, tall wedding cake. We aren't planning to save a piece of the wedding cake for our first anniversary. We didn't leave for the honeymoon the night of our wedding. I didn't get a wedding band to go with my engagement ring. The Man wore his wedding ring before we were married. We're not really big on following all of those traditions--they didn't mean anything to us.

And yet we're Catholic. Our faith is, almost by definition, traditional. We rely on centuries-old doctrine to define our values and beliefs. We look to ancient traditions to help us understand our modern faith, our modern world. The Man and I are surrounded by tradition that we love.

People have asked me what our traditions will be. What will we do to "traditionally" celebrate holidays or "traditionally" usher in life events. I ask, how can we decide ahead of time what we will be doing two or three years from now that will be traditional? Wouldn't that be a forced tradition? What if we do something one Christmas morning or for an anniversary that we don't want to do the next time around? How exactly do traditions get created? Should traditions be created for traditions sake?

The Man and I sat down and discussed the traditions we grew up with and considered whether or not to continue those traditions. We talked about doing them because of what they are or what they mean to us, and we decided that we each come from some unique and meaningful traditions. Christmas isn't Christmas to me without sugar cookies, and Christmas isn't the same to him without stocking stuffers (for a couple examples).

In the end, our decision was easy: we aren't going to force traditions. We aren't going to follow a recipe for making our holidays the same one year to the next. If we want cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving one year and pie the next, it doesn't matter to us. If we like having cinnamon rolls, we'll have cinnamon rolls. We're not going to make traditions so that we can say we have them: we'll have traditions because we love them.

Do you have traditions, and if so, how did they come about? What do you think of forcing traditions?


cm0978 said...

I remember when the boys had an assignment to write about their family's traditions. That's when I realized that we didn't have as many as some families. We varied things each year. Now we seem to have more traditions than when the boys were young. Why is that? Perhaps it was the family dynamics (not just our little family group, but the larger Family). I do think it is comforting to have some little traditions of your own; they mark you as a Family. Thinking of that tonight, they remind me of the beads of a rosary. The little traditions slip through our lives like the parts of each decade and remind us that life is a circle, a rotation of seasons and repeated moments that make up a larger pattern.

MissKris said...

Again, Miss Jaggy, you and I are thinking on the same page. Especially as we get older, Dear Hubby and I shy away more and more from 'traditions'. Christmas for most of our married life was a logistical and familial nightmare, mostly due to trying to appease certain family members who'll remain anonymous, ha! This last year was the first EVER we spent just with 'us', our core family, in 34 years at that time. Can you imagine?! And because of all that yearly hassle a lot of the joy of Christmas is gone out of me forever, I think. Anyway, you know how we're spending Thanksgiving?? I'll tell you anyway! ;-P We're planning on going out to an archery range my husband loves to target shoot at in the foothills of the Coastal Range, early in the morning. Our son and d-i-l and grandboys are spending Thanksgiving with her brother's family so our dinner will be whatever. No roast turkey and all the fixings for us. We're going to borrow our son's Wii and bowl and play tether ball and just kick back with our daughter. Can't think of a better way to spend it...THIS year!

Michael said...

BUBBLE LIGHTS. Don't question me on this one.

Slick said...

amen to bubble lights

Jaggy said...

Noted. We will be acquiring bubble lights soon, I see. :P