Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Traditionally Traditional?

Even though Thanksgiving is over and probably long forgotten already by most folks, I'm still in thanksgiving mode. It's an added bonus of focusing on things to be thankful for during the month of November.

Growing up and into adulthood I've met plenty of people who like me, have a birthday in December. More often than not, those people have a sad story to tell about the way their families celebrated, or didn't celebrate their December birthdays. The most common tale I've heard is that their birthdays weren't really celebrated at all because it was during the mad rush of the Christmas shopping/baking/wrapping/decorating season. For a child, that would be pretty upsetting, especially when your friends and siblings have traditional birthday parties or celebrations.

All the while I was growing up, my December birthday was celebrated by my family in exactly the same way my brother and sister's birthdays were. Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner (grandma always made my favorite: roast beef with potatos, carrots, gravy, coleslaw and biscuits), cake and ice cream (chocolate cake, peppermint stick ice cream) and presents. The one bonus I received that no one else did, was that after we'd leave grandma's house we'd drive down Candy Cane Lane and see all the decorated homes. It was always a fun and memorable birthday when I was growing up, even if my birthday is in the middle of the mad rush of Christmas traditions.

Right into adulthood, that tradition has continued on with Kev and my 7 wonderful kids. We do the same thing every year on my birthday: go to Benjamin's Tree Farm in St. Jacobs and pick out our Christmas tree, spend some time in the barn/gift shop sipping hot cider and munching shortbread cookies, then have my birthday celebration. Usually we do that at home but this year we did it a week early, at Caryn's house. She made an amazing black forest cake for me, and we all hung out and had fun. We also combined soon to be son in law #3's birthday with mine, since they're only a week apart. Huge thanks to our DJ Eric, while Caryn and I did the really bad karaoke version of Total Eclipse of the Heart! (Eric and Rachel's duet of A-HA's Take On Me was exceptionally memorable, I must say).

So I'm thankful. Thankful that I come from a long line of tradition keepers, and thankful that the sentiment of keeping family traditions has rubbed off with all my kids. Those are the things that make wonderful family memories that last long after all the presents and cake are gone.

Now, if I can find a karaoke version of The Star Spangled Banner, I just might do a video of me wearing my groovy new American Flag t-qualizer flashwear t-shirt that Eric picked out for me.

Or... maybe not. ;-)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe