The holiday season is here! The holidays have arrived along with a long list of traditions followed religiously in every brightly lit home you pass. Some traditions we love, while others we hate but continue despite our feelings because…well…just because.
Traditions are what form our childhood memories. Traditions are what bind us to one another, for good or for bad, and give our celebrations meaning.
There are the dinners, the feasts that would please even the heartiest eater, food that takes days to prepare and only hours to devour. We always know which aunt we can count on to bring the green bean casserole, which cousin brings the same jello salad every year. Remember the lime jello with grated carrots that magically appeared at every holiday table in the ‘70s? There are the pumpkin pies that are eaten down to the very last crumb, and the fruitcakes that get secretly fed in bits and bites to the dog hiding under the table. (Personally, I love my mother’s fruitcake.) One of the best movie dinner scenes is National Lampoon’s Holiday Vacation. Now that’s a family holiday dinner!
Then there’s the alcohol. Whether your preference is wine, beer, or hard liquor, it doesn’t matter. There’s never any lack of liquid courage. The courage to sing when you don’t know the words and are completely tone deaf, the courage to tell someone you love them and don’t know what you would do without them, or, the most dangerous courage of all, the courage to tell someone just what you think of them and their ugly holiday sweater and their disgusting jello salad or fruitcake, and, by the way, you hate their fat little dog, too.
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition growing up was waiting for the town Christmas lights to come on for the first time. We lived on the street parallel to the main highway that passed through town and every year, as soon as we were done with dinner, we would rush to bundle up and run that one block over before dusk and wait for those lights to come on. That was our signal that the Christmas season had officially arrived and Santa’s visit was not far behind. Now town lights go up and are turned on sometime in early November. At least they still wait until after Halloween.
To all my readers: I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! May you eat too much turkey, drink too much wine, and have too much fun with your friends and family. But, please, drive responsibly so we can all do it again a month from now.