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Traditions Over the Holidays

December 20, 2010

Around this time of year, I always get to thinking about family and tradition.

When I ask others about their holiday traditions, I’m usually regaled with stories of big families, numerous parties and everything in between. I enjoy everything about these tales and memories because they are so vastly different from my own. When all of your extended family lives overseas there are no big family get togethers, reunions or parties. There aren’t really the traditions that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

But that hasn’t stopped my foreign family from joining forces with another foreign family and creating new traditions that have become as cherished and loved as if they’d been around for decades and beyond.

What makes our new “family” so special is that our stories mirror one another. Both families have moved around the world, jumping from location to location. One lived in Hong Kong while the other explored London. One originates from Australia and the other from South Africa. How we both managed to land ourselves in Philadelphia around the same time still amazes me.

Brought together by a common real estate agent and a subsequent meeting at the mall, our families have been inseparable ever since, especially during the holidays. A unique and slightly left of center holiday tradition that has become a favorite of ours is one that was cooked up by my wonderfully unique and slightly left of center mother (she knows that I mean that with the utmost of love and adoration).

On Thanksgiving, like Santa, my mother hands out gifts for everyone. The gifts are ornaments that represent a milestone or an accomplishment for each of us that year. When I asked her how she came up with the idea she said,

“I didn’t see it somewhere and I didn’t get it out of a magazine. We were a bunch of expats who were celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States. None of us were from here so I wanted to make it special by having something that was just “us.”

She didn’t get the idea from Martha or Oprah. No, my mom out-did both of those women that year and created a tradition that was a perfect fit for my, now much larger, family.

It is a tradition that has stuck and one that I will most likely pass down to my family one day. Traditions and family are important but even more important is their uniqueness as no family and their traditions are ever the same.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Petal Petunia permalink
    December 21, 2010 6:47 am

    Love that idea…and love your mom too!! We too live far from ‘home’ and our family, and miss the big get togethers and gift giving. So a few years ago to lighten the mood of being alone for Christmas we started a tradition of buying each other ‘bad taste’ gifts from a reject shop or $2 store. They have to be as tacky as possible and not cost more than $5. The worse they are the more they make us laugh, and it is such fun shopping for them. There are 4 of us in the family, and any guests are obliged to do the same….the best gift so far has been a huge ceramic green frog toilet brush holder!!! It was so revolting, we are still laughing.

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