Tuesday, December 25, 2012


As I type this, the sun is setting on Christmas Day.  (Maybe I'll even finish this today as well.)

Christmas is THE holiday here in the US.  It's so big there are stores dedicated to it year 'round.  John Stewart once said (paraphrasing) that Christmas has already conquered Thanksgiving and Halloween is next!  And I think he's right.

As my loyal readers know (and welcome to number 53, whomever you are!), my favorite holiday is Halloween.  Christmas is near the bottom of my list.  Lots of reasons, most of which deal with family issues.

Family is one of the topics today but only as vehicle so to speak.


There are those who would say that liberals like myself are anti-Tradition, to which I say "you obviously don't know liberals."  And if all they watch is Fox News, they don't.

I am quite bound to many traditions.

There are so many Penn State traditions that I can't even count them all.  Then my own little related tradition of listening to Quadrophenia when going to Penn State.  And when I visit Penn State, there are a few places I go without fail.  To remember.

As a my mum is a Scot, my family had a couple of traditions we followed (not many, as my staunchly conservative dad thinks any and all such traditions are BS.)  Certain meals to celebrate certain days and all that.

Most families have traditions of some sort.  As do organizations.  Some are called rituals.

My wife and I started our own Christmas tradition when we lived in Baltimore.  This was back around 1998 when we bought our first (and only) house.  Most of the people that worked with me were also not from Maryland, and had no family in the area.  I forgot where the idea came from, but we decided that we'd invite these people over to join in our Christmas eve.

My wife's family had a couple of traditions for Christmas eve that I actually liked.  They would gather on Christmas Eve when they would make a bunch of munchies and appetizers and graze as they watched "A Christmas Story."

 It was quiet and fun.  And I love that movie.

So this is what we invited these "orphans" to attend.  And many said they would.  BYOB.

Christmas eve came, and it snowed.  Hard.  I forgot how much, but I want to say a foot before dawn of Christmas day.  But still, many of the people came.   I remember drinking wine by candlelight and looking out the door to the deck.  I turned on the deck light so we could watch the snow swirl and fall in the wind. 

It's one of the memories of Baltimore that I cherish.

At around midnight everyone went home, despite the drink and storm, and despite the invitation to stay the night. 

And Wife and I sat on our couch, finishing our wine while Frank Sinatra sang Christmas Carols and the tree light blinked in the darkened room. 

Every year since then, even after moving back to Pennsylvania, we have continued this tradition: the "Orphan's Christmas Eve."  We've had as many as ten, and as few as two. 

It's the only Christmas tradition I like and follow.

And this year it didn't happen. 

This year, five people were invited.  One, a pilot, was called into work for a flight to Tampa.  Another, a co-worker in the retail store where I work, was exhausted after the long day dealing with people, and begged off.  The last two, former co-workers, also decided not to come, as it was snowing and they'd heard from the current co-worker how absolutely exhausted I was.  And I really was!

So it was myself, Wife, her mother and my daughter who grazed on appetizers and watched the movie. 

I was a little upset that the tradition was broken, but I was bone tired and grumpy.  Besides, part of the tradition (for me) was getting very drunk, as I didn't have to drive.

I didn't drink this year.  God knows I wanted to, as the weeks running up the Christmas were HELL on Earth at the store.  But I'd promised my wife that I wouldn't until my full sentence was served for the DUI.  I keep my promises.

So this morning was the first Christmas in many years that I awoke without a hangover (an unfortunate Christmas tradition for me.)

Now the sun has set on another Christmas.  My daughter is in bed after a long, hard day of playing.  As it should be.

And I am here trying to put everything into perspective.

Perhaps next year we'll restart the tradition of "Orphan's Christmas Eve."  Or maybe it'll wait until we move into our own place.  Or maybe we'll start a new tradition.

After all, traditions, new and old, bind us to all which has come before us and are a way of passing these things to those that come after us. 

For example, wouldn't it be wonderful if more people passed a tradition of Tolerance onto their children? 

Sounds like a Christmas Wish come true.

We can hope, can't we?

After all, when you strip it to its core- this IS the season of Hope.

And Peace.


1 comment:

  1. pretty photo of a pretty lady in a pretty outfit!
    merry christmas and a happy new year to you!