About the author

Suellen

Hi! I'm a mother of three wonderful, amazing, children and wife to an incredible, loving, and supportive husband. I enjoy gardening, knitting, reading, and writing. Family is everything to me.

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2 Comments

  1. 1

    Melissa Mistretta

    Your story brought back so many memories for me. Memories of family members that are unfortunately no longer with us, but held on dearly to some of the same traditions you mentioned. Growing up in an Italian-American family, traditions were part of everyday life. Even Sunday pasta dinner was a tradition no to be broken.

    Traditions are so important to families but sometimes they may create unnecessary pressure. Some traditions are not always so easy to keep up when the kids get older, careers change and the family begins to grow.

    I remember as a child how important opening the presents after midnight was to my parents. No matter what, my parents made sure we were home on Christmas Eve by 11:30 pm, regardless of where we were or who we were visiting.

    Now that I am grown with a family of my own, and happen to be a night nurse, traditions had to change and holidays needed to become more flexible. I have found that my family has been incredibly accommodating when it has come to my holiday schedule. I remember the first few years I had to work Christmas, while working the 3-11 pm shift, my mother was so upset that I would miss the holiday dinner with the family. I would be upset because of how some of these traditions were ingrained in my mind. It was as if I was breaking the law and inevitably felt terribly guilty.

    As the years went on, I became much more accustomed to working holidays, and my parents eventually adjusted. The one good thing is that, no matter if I worked the evening shift or the night shift, I would always be home for Christmas morning. So having a big family breakfast and opening presents on Christmas morning became OUR new tradition.

    Sometimes traditions just have to be adjusted, not abandoned completely. My view of our holiday traditions have become more flexible as the years went on. When you work in the healthcare field, or any career that involves shift work, you never quite know what will happen. Emergencies pop up and sometimes duty calls.

    One tradition that we have always stuck to, no matter what, is the new Christmas pajamas. We ALL get new Christmas PJ’s from my Mom every year. That is a simple, yet comforting, tradition that I will keep passing on. I love it. I wear my PJ’s ALL day, evening when serving Christmas dinner. A flexible and relaxed holiday atmosphere is a tradition in it’s own right and now it’s the only one I insist upon.

    Merry Christmas to ALL! :-) xoxo

  2. 2

    Suellen

    I also miss those old traditions, and the family members even more. I’m a bit sad about losing both, really. Our traditions have also gone through some changes, for different reasons. Part of it is so I can let my kids have the kind of traditions that they want. But ‘life’ has quite a bit to do with it, too. Some things just aren’t practical. Also, I think it’s normal for things to go through changes with the times. People usually put their own spin on things. Also, people marrying into the family have their own traditions, which might be quite different. So, you end up merging the two and making adjustments. Also, sometimes new things become holiday habits, and eventually become traditions. I love the pajama one you have! That’s not a completely foreign idea for us either – we like pajama days, too. The custody schedule has necessitated some big adjustments in how and when we do certain things. That’s another reason I let the children make some choices. I like them to be involved, I figure if we have to make changes, they should have some input, and I also feel they need to learn to make decisions. Plus, since they are missing out on certain things because of the split custody, I like to sort of make up for some of it by giving them a bit of control (within reason) when it comes to thinks like holiday celebrations.

    I think it kind of brings us all closer, both by celebrating some of the old traditions from past generations, and also by creating our own new and unique ways that we can continue into the future!

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