Non-Traditional Traditions

Here we are a few days after Christmas on a ‘free’ week. Our Christmas went well. Not spectacular, but well. Believe me, in my life, I have had a lot worse. We’ve had more excitement, good and bad. I’ll take quiet over bad excitement any day out of the week, let alone on the day we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ.

This was not a year for extravagance, but everyone got something and the kids got a bit, without it being a million toys to add to the already 10 million that are in my house and their parents’. Books, art projects, fuzzy socks, special slippers, watches, etc. dominated and yes, some toys were under the tree,(which are scattered around my living room as I type!)

This was a year of change of traditions in my decorating because I could not find all that I usually put up, but it was fine. I like tradition but I found myself being bound in by them. I simply put up a little less and some in different places than where I usually put them. I found that I was very happy with it all. It was all nice and familiar, but freeing, as well.
And the same was true of the food. Anyone who knows me, spent any time reading here, at my Facebook or my other blog knows that I am a certified,(certifiable?), foodie. I had a very good time creating good fare for Christmas, but I took my time,(most of the Christmas cookies were eaten before a week before the day appeared), and we had many of our traditional foods and goodies, but some were changed and ,(gasp!) some were missing altogether. We still had far more than enough, and a good time was had by all. Again, it was traditional enough without it being oppressive.

I went to midnight mass for the first time since before I was married. I wanted no rushing in the morning, as we had no little ones to wake us up to open presents from Santa. My husband and I arrived at the church early and we listed to the choir. The night was very cold, but the stars were brightly shining… it was truly inspirational. #1 Son came in, too, and then came back to my house for a while to wrap presents as I filled stockings for the grandchildren. I took my time…and got to bed at 4 AM, but I was happy. I got up a few hours later to put turkey breasts in the oven and caught a little more sleep,( really, I did!) I made the gravy, and put out all the foods as a buffet and the back porch as an “auxiliary refrigerator” as needed to keep the food safe. Thank Heaven for the microwave! Whoever came in ate when they wanted. It was easy.

I do love tradition, but when what should be good and comforting becomes dictatorial and makes too much work and worry, the celebration looses its meaning and that happened all too often in my family’s home and in mine. Never again. Besides, with my sons, nieces and even my great–nephew grown, with split-families and grandkids, I need to be flexible about when who arrives to eat and exchange presents. I will not be demanding; what is it worth? If a son needs to be at an in-law’s place or a girlfriend’s parent’s house, or a grandchild needs to visit or eat with the other side of their family, I want them all to have a good time. I want to have a home that everyone feels welcomed to, one that everyone wants to come to, where everyone feels comfortable. And that includes me. I had no stress, and that is the best way to celebrate.

Big changes are coming, but that is probably next week’s post.

I pray that all of you had a wonderful Christmas,( and/or other holidays), and I sincerely hope that 2014 brings you hope, health and happiness. I wish you peace and joy.

Anyone have any fun tales of this Christmas that you’d like to share?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
This entry was posted in childhood, Family, Friendship, Holiday, Tonette Joyce and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Non-Traditional Traditions

  1. Iris B says:

    I really love your title this week … The midnight mass sounded beautiful. We always go to church Christmas Eve and celebrate “into” Christmas Day.
    Look forward to your post next week!
    Have a happy New Year, Tonette!


  2. Midnight mass is nice, Iris.Depending on the area,it can be very crowded, though not as often as in the past.I have seen the churches and the celebrations in Germany; they really do it up beautifully there! And I have never known anyone in Australia,(or from Australia), who was not ready to celebrate everything! They are always fun and game for anything.
    I have no idea what I am writing about next week! Thanks for the vote of confidence!


  3. jeff7salter says:

    Sounds like a very pleasant way to observe this holiday.
    It’s not supposed to be about stress and pressure, and hustle-bustle — but too many folks allow themselves to be consumed by those aspects.
    Love this quote:
    “I do love tradition, but when what should be good and comforting becomes dictatorial and makes too much work and worry, the celebration looses its meaning and that happened all too often in my family’s home and in mine. Never again.”


    • Thanks, Jeff. My mother taught me to stress-out awfully and be exacting at all costs.It took me too long and I put my kids through too much. I wish I had gotten a clue sooner but better late than never, huh?


  4. Micki Gibson says:

    Ever since I’ve had little ones who believe in Santa, I have wanted to stay home. Nothing would stress me out more than trying to figure out how to get Santa presents to someone else’s home along with the stockings and all the other stuff. Then there’s Christmas dinner. For so many years, I thought we had to have a turkey because that’s what the tradition was with my family along with my husband’s family. Maybe it was the umpteenth viewing of the Grinch and how he carved the “roast beast” for all the Whos or a magazine style cookbook that I probably picked up in the grocery store line, but I decided to give up the turkey and all the stuff that goes with it, and opted for a prime rib roast. Christmas turkey dinner was always a repeat of Thanksgiving and waaaaayyyy too many side dishes to prepare. Ever since I went with the roast, cheese grits, and some green veggie plus a dessert, I am a much happier Christmas day cook. Cheers to breaking with tradition when it relieves your stress.


    • So it’s going to be a new tradition for you,Micki! Congratulations…the best tradition we can have is to be calm and happy!
      (BTW, I hope you get a chance to look at last week’s post.I gave you some credit…but won’t let you take any blame!)


  5. pjharjo says:

    Sorry I’m so late with this, Tonette. I’ve lost a lot of time with my emails lately. I’m glad to hear you celebrated this year on your own terms and enjoyed it! I broke with tradition, too. Instead of putting up a tree and any decorations here, I put up a tree and decorations in momma’s room at the Care Center.

    I didn’t even do any cooking this year. I had a Christmas dinner with momma on Monday at her “Holiday Luncheon” where she lives, and went with my bf to one of his sons’ home for dinner on the day of. It has been relaxing not to worry with anything here while I with my momma so much and working on edits here.

    You ask for a tale of Christmas. I had one when I started this reply, but I forgot. Too tired – gotta sleep – glad my day’s work is done – don’t think I’ll make it to midnight… OH! I just remembered I made a Brie Cheese Pastry Appetizer to take with me to dinner on Christmas. Guess there’s no getting out of cooking something this time of year.



    • My son made me pull a baked brie in crust from my freezer last night, despite the other foods I had here…I guess you can’t go wrong with brie!
      That’s OK, Janette; I have been so incredibly backed-up with every email, post notice from blogs, housework , writings….the list goes on.I need to get a grip on time management, but then,I have left myself open for kids-at-any-time here.(Time-consuming little dickenses!)
      I think celebrating,eating, decorating at your mother’s is a wonderful idea!
      All the best for 2014!


      • pjharjo says:

        Time Management – That’s something I’ve learned I need to know more about. Your home sounds like a veritable wonderland for your grandkids: A doting grandmother, yummy stuff in the kitchen… I’m beginning to get hungry whenever I read your posts! I can just imagine how heavenly it smells at your place!


      • Thanks,Janette, but since a prophet is not without honor except in their own home, so it is with the grandkids.The boy is a but better with the girls I have to keep the freezer full of Bagel Bites,Mini-waffles and pancakes…hot dogs, grilled cheese and peanut butter crackers.Sheesh!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s