Saturday, March 30, 2013

Traditions?


Traditions used to be such a big part of my family when my grandparents were alive.  For instance, every Sunday we got dressed up, went to church, and then headed to Gram's for dinner.  Almost everything she made was homemade, from her noodles, to her biscuits, to her pies and most things in between.  And boy she could cook!  I can still see her now, dancing around in her half-apron, singing a little tune.



And she always cleaned up, right after dinner, and the ladies (myself included) went in the kitchen to help.  I'm sure I was more of a hindrance in that kitchen than I was a help, but she never once made me feel that way.  In fact, she had a special stool just for me (a metal chair with steps that slid in or out) to sit in while her and my mother did the dishes.  I can still envision all of us in the kitchen too, and hear the laughter, and see my grandma swatting my mom with her dish towel when my mom made an inappropriate crack.

As far as traditions go, holidays were never the exception.  Every holiday was spent at my grandmother's house.  On Easter morning, Mom and I would get all dressed up and go to church, then we'd head to my grandmother's house for the big meal and holiday festivities.  Gram and I would color eggs, then she'd turn them into deviled eggs that went on the dinner table.

It was comforting to have those traditions and consistencies in my life.


When I moved to another state, got married and had children of my own, my mother-in-law took the place of my grandmother. All holidays were at her house, she cooked a big meal, and my sister-in-law and I orchestrated the festivities for the kiddos.  Then the women retreated to the kitchen to help clean up (and the guys went outside or took naps, lol).  This kind of gathering wasn't unique to me, and it seemed like most everyone I knew experienced the same kind of holiday gathering.  Food, family, and fun.

Today I'm not seeing those traditions as consistently as I once did.  People are traveling during the holidays, arguing because they DON'T want to go to grandma's (ack, who'd have thunk it?!?), resentful that they feel pressured to go to their in-laws, and so on and so forth.  Those are just a few examples. You've probably seen something similar with someone you know too.  As a result of the lost consistency of holiday tradition, the holidays just don't seem as special as they used to (or maybe that's just me?).


Yesterday my husband and youngest got haircuts at the barber.  The lady cutting my son's hair was telling me how her grandchildren were in Florida for the holiday, and you could see she was visibly upset about it too.  She said, "I was thinking about it today and wondering what are they going to do for their eggs this year?  I guess just a plastic egg hunt if anything."  You could tell the idea didn't sit well with her.  She was obviously the one the kids came to on the holidays to color eggs.  I betcha' she usually made a big deal of the day and was happy to do it too.  And this year, she and her husband will be home sans kids on Easter Sunday.

It got me to thinking, and looking around me, and I noticed for the first time (or actually paid attention for the first time) that Christmas aside, there really isn't a lot of merit being given to the holiday traditions the way there used to be.


Every year dad hides the eggs, usually he's still in his jammies. ;)

We're deviating from the norm this year.  We did last year too.  Though we always have our egg hunt and Easter baskets, we're more inclusive now.  It's no longer a big deal, or a normal thing, to have the big family meal and family festivities as one big group. Families seem to be doing things more and more on their own, and grandma's house is not the first place everyone wants to go.  I'm not sure I like it.  I wonder if my younger children will have those fuzzy, happy memories of holidays the way I do?


Don't get me wrong, we celebrate the day, and we enjoy it, but never with the consistency from my youth.  We treat it as a holiday, a special day to do something fun or out of the ordinary (whatever it is we've decided to do for the day).  We don't treat it as a traditional holiday with traditional household/family norms. Maybe we're missing out.

48 comments:

  1. We used to have big get togethers with all 3 families. My step mom first, then my mom, then my inlaws. It made for a loooong day! My step mom passed last year, so this is our first Easter without her. Family turmoil has caused us to not do family functions at my mothers anymore. I am so grateful for my inlaws, as that is where we spend every Easter, making memories with them. Actually, EVERY holiday is cause for a celebration there. Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, ect. It doesn't matter, we have a party for each holiday. It's an excuse to celebrate and get the whole family together for fun and food!

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    1. That's nice, and that's exactly what I'm talking about...that tradition you have with your in-laws is such a wonderful thing to have. Happy Easter, Theresa. :)

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  2. What sweet memories from your childhood and early years of marriage! I say you start some new traditions and keep them going! I love the hiding Easter eggs in PJ's picture. :) It's hard when family grows up and out and new traditions are formed. Maybe you could celebrate holidays early if it's hard to get the family together on the actual day. It's what's being together that counts, right?!

    Happy Easter!

    ~Heather

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    1. Being together is what counts. I loved your post today! Happy Easter to you.

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  3. Such wonderful memories to look back on. :) I hope you have an amazing Easter dear friend.

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    1. Wishing you the same, and good luck dress shopping for the formal!

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  4. As kids get older, they no longer want to go to Grandmas place, that is just a fact of life. Sad but true.

    I know it is very hard for my Stepdaughter. She has her mothers side to visit and her fathers side. Not easy when no one lives close together.

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    1. I always wanted to go to my gram's. Even when I grew up and moved out of state I missed her every holiday and visited for a week or two every year. :)

      It's nice that your stepdaughter makes the effort even though it's not easy for her.

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  5. Ya know, as I write this comment, I'm at my mother-in-law's to celebrate the holiday and I love cool family traditions...though I admit, I'm venturing out and starting a few of my own. I love gathering with family, though. :D
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. ;)

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    1. Hurrah, I hope you enjoy your time there, and a happy holiday weekend to you too. ;)

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  6. Yeah many see it more of a hinderance than anything now a days, can see that with ease. It is hard sometimes to get to them all though.

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  7. I never really thought about this before, Rosey - but you are right. We rarely see my husband's family, even though they all live within an hour of us. But we all go to my in-laws for holidays; it's the one time all three sons and their families gather together. It shouldn't be just for special occasions, but at least it's something. Visiting back for the blog party!

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    1. That's nice that the three sons and their families all get together. I bet they all think of the tradition fondly. Thanks for visiting back. :)

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  8. Yes, life changes for all of us. As a child I thought I'd always continue with our family traditions, but I didn't, for a variety of reasons. This year I'm enjoying a quiet, peaceful Sunday with my 85 y.o. mother. Quite a change from Easters of the past.

    Thanks so much for dropping by to see my Dip Dyed Easter Eggs. Have a wonderful Easter, no matter what you do :)

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    1. I loved those eggs they were my favorite that I found on Pinterest!

      Happy Easter to you too! I hope you and your mom enjoy the day and each other's company. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  9. So true, Rosey -- in these days allowing us to grow "closer" online, it seems like we're spending less time all together celebrating special occasions like Easter. We still get together with our son, but big family gatherings are less frequent than they used to be.
    Thanks for the great post, & may you have a blessed Easter!
    Laurie

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    1. I hope you have a wonderful Easter too, Laurie.

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  10. It's a sad commentary this, Rosey, and dead on right!
    AND families were so much bigger too - my kids don't have the cousins I had - so there isn't that fun chaos that holidays used to have either.
    Still - they'll all be here together - it's the new " fuzzy " and as long as I have them close by I can handle it!
    Happy Easter!
    Hugs,
    Suzan

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    1. You're lucky you'll have your kids with you! Half of mine are all over the place. Happy Easter to you too.

      Hugs back.

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  11. I'm the other way around. I grew up without traditions and now I'm trying to find ones that work for my family. Ones that we all enjoy and wouldn't be rigid.

    However I do understand what you are saying and I wish more families would stay together and carry on as we should.

    I hate being so far away from everyone. It seems we are always so alone here.

    Keep on keeping on your family traditions Rosey. Just like how you are looking back now with wonderful memories, so will your kids in their adult years too. And it might inspire them to stay with traditions or pull them back if they had left, or help them begin if they didn't start.

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    1. You always say such nice things, and I hope you and your family have a perfectly wonderful Easter. :)

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  12. I love the memories you shared of you at your Grandmother's sitting in as they washed dishes in the kitchen. I remember my Grandmother's house, her kitchen in particular. She had this old fashioned Norge refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom and her old dishwasher had to be hooked up to her sink to run. Imagine that! I don't remember the interactions as much as the stuff....not sure what that means, but I do miss her dearly - she passed away in 2009.

    I know what you mean about family traditions. Our gatherings are getting smaller. My brother and his wife will probably divorce so we haven't seen them since Christmas. I don't expect to see him tomorrow. On the plus side, my sister-in-law met a nice new "friend" and he is coming to Easter brunch along with my parents. It will be at Grant's mom's house. She is wonderful. She loves traditions and her family means the world to her.

    Happy Easter Rosey! :)

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    1. My gram had the freezer on the bottom too. And her washing machine was one of those old ringer ones and she liked it. She never would let me get her a top-loader when I was grown.

      I'm sorry to hear about your brother.

      Happy Easter to you too, Kristi. That's nice about your husband's mom! I'm happy to hear traditions are still up and running in your family. :)

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  13. I completely relate to this post. I couldn't agree with you more. We used to do the same thing at my grandma's house, complete with the ladies doing the dishes immediately following the meal. It's not that way anymore and it's sad. Great post!

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    1. I think the best part of traditions is that they're not even thought about, they're just something you do. For holidays, I really like that concept. :)

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  14. I can relate so much...
    Growing up, we always had Sunday Lunch at my grandmothers...
    Christmas Eve was at my moms mom and Christmas Lunch was at my dads moms..... Thanksgiving was always my moms side of the family and Easter was at my moms side as well... My grandaddy had a pond and we went out there... spent the day hunting eggs and having fun.
    Now, with Marc's work schedule, we are normally home ... as he is normally "on call" so its hard to go out of town (back to family) so we do Easter with some of my close friends (it started as a "misfit holiday" where those of us that could not go home would go... but now we have kids and still go :)

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    1. You've got your own tradition going. :)

      How wonderful that your family had the holidays set like that when you were growing up. It probably made things easy on everyone!

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  15. Thanks for visiting my blog! Great post!

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  16. I have to agree with you, we spent the holidays in exactly the same way. I always knew my cousins would all be there and the day was spent playing with them while the aunts and grandma were in the kitchen. Easter and Christmas were wonderful. I do try to do this for my children but our family is so much more scattered now :(

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    1. We had the cousins thing going on too. It was nice. :)

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  17. It must have been nice to have those sorts of traditions. I grew up in a single parent family and I sometimes saw my dad and grandparents but we were not all that close. So now I am grown up I don't miss the consistency but I can see it would be nice if we lived near our families and could get together more than once a year! Thanks for popping by my blog I'm now following you.

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    1. I just went over to follow back. Thanks for the visit. :)

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  18. I actually asked to go to the in-laws. Travis didn't want to. It's been a long time since we've seen them. If you are thinking turns, it's their turn to see us. They seem to not want to come here. I think their lack of wanting to visit bothers him. They are not old at all. Anyway we're going there next week. His family is not at all close. totally opposite to mine!

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    1. Good for you for being the one to make the move. I bet they appreciate it, even if they don't say it. :)

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  19. i agree with you, rosey. so many traditions seems to get lost in families these days. i can't wait to make new ones and carry on a lot of family traditions with our daughter. i wish you and your wonderful family a very happy and fun easter day no matter what you do! :)
    sending love and hugs xoxox
    maria

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    1. The posts you put on your blog always radiate such a happy, warm energy. Your daughter is already very lucky. :)

      Happy Easter to you too!

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  20. What a sweet memories to cherish on! Hope you are having a fabulous week!

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    1. I hope you are too! Thanks for the visit. :)

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  21. Growing up my family was full of traditions...I have loved passing these on to my kiddo's + adding new ones =) Thanks for your sweet comments on my post (day2daySuperMom) HAPPY EASTER!

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  22. A good friend of mine travels at Christmas to avoid meetings with her inlaws. I tend to do family dinners at my house now so that I don't have to do all the house hopping and visiting on my end. It's easier with the kids to have everyone come see us.

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    1. I've had some dinners/family gatherings at my house too, and you're right, even w/the cooking and such it was a lot easier. We can't do that here, but it was nice when it could happen. :)

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  23. Being a military family, our holidays now are nowhere near like what my husband and I both grew up with. I only had one living grandparent during my childhood, and we always spent all holidays with her. All of my aunts and uncles and cousins on my mom's side were always there, too, for lunch, and then the ones that were married went to the in laws for the evening, and it worked out great.

    My husband and I have been married for 8 years, and other than Mother's Day and Father's Day (each once I believe) we've never been "home" for any holidays together. When he was deployed Elliott and I were at my parents' house for Halloween, and when my sister got married, we were there for the Fourth of July (my husband couldn't get off work), but that's all that Elliott has seen of how holidays are celebrated with extended family.

    In some ways I find it sad, but we're pretty happy with our own traditions. It's just not feasible to spend holidays with extended family when you live 1100 miles from home in an area where plane tickets cost more than $600 each, and the weather is too gross to drive long distances during most holidays.

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  24. My kids still go to their grandparents house for Easter dinner. This year we went to one side on Saturday and the other on Sunday. I'm happy that we have these traditions, but honestly I would love to stay at my own home more often than not.

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  25. I love hearing about your memories. I felt like I was in the kitchen right alongside all the women helping clean up! I do remember all our traditions from when I was younger. We still celebrate holidays at my parents' house, but it just doesn't feel the same. I think when you're an adult and on your own but don't have children yet, holidays aren't as special anymore. As sad as that sounds, it seems like it's true.

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  26. We used to have lots of traditions now I try to make some with my kids :) ours were vey similar to yours

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