Keeping Family Traditions Alive

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Tamara Belinc


Editor’s Note: Thanksgiving is normally the start of the Christmas season.  This article is dedicated to all the family traditions we each hold dear in the hopes we are able to maintain and cherish them this season and many more to come.


Every year on Christmas Day, after the turkey was eaten and the presents were opened, my family members participated in a no-hold barred paper ball fight.  As everyone opened presents, they gathered wrapping paper, hording it behind, under and around them – anywhere they could get it, just so they could get in on the fun.


Soon, red, green, blue and multi-colored paper balls were flying; people were ducking and twisting to avoid being hit, while strategically throwing the balls at whomever they wanted to hit.  It was a fun way to avenge any wrongs that might have happened during the year.  Even my Granny, the family matriarch, got in on the action, throwing from her lift chair in the corner of the room.


As she aged, Granny’s involvement became less and less, although she still smiled at all of us and our foolishness.  Last year, her chair was empty, as she had died only 20 days before Christmas.  It was hard for all of us to even celebrate the holiday, let alone participate in a tradition she enjoyed so much.


And, then my older cousin remembered a Christmas over 30 years ago, before I was even born.  My grandfather had died just a few short months before Christmas, and no one in the family was really up for celebrating.  Papa had his own traditions, going to each of his children’s houses to see what Santa had brought to his grandchildren.  He usually wound up waking both adults and children alike, because he felt as though Christmas morning should start early.


No one was expecting a knock on the door at 5 a.m., that Christmas morning, but that is exactly what happened at my oldest aunt’s house.  She opened the door in surprise to see her mother, my Granny standing there.  Granny believed the traditions shouldn’t end with family members passed on.  She continued the Christmas morning visits even when her grandchildren were adults and had children of their own.


So last year we knew then we had to have the paper ball fight, as hard as it was without Granny.  As we started, we found ourselves smiling and imagined Granny laughing with us.  It took away some of the pain of our loss for just a little while.  


This year, Christmas will be at a different location, but we will have our paper balls. Granny will be looking down at us and smiling, knowing we didn’t stop our family traditions just because she passed on.


“To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.”
-Clara Ortega


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Posted on 27 November, 2008 in Finance & Family, Happiness, Spirituality
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