My Family Doesn't Have Christmas Traditions
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My Family Doesn't Have Christmas Traditions, And I Love It

Flexibility in tradition is a beautiful thing.

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My Family Doesn't Have Christmas Traditions, And I Love It
Jeanne Kemper

My family never does the same thing twice for Christmas. "Our tradition is that we don't have traditions," my dad jokes. Sometimes we go to candlelight services on Christmas Eve. We have gone to two different great aunt's and uncle's houses, to my grandmothers' on both sides, and stayed at home, sometimes having friends over and sometimes with just our family. But how we celebrate Christmas is always different every year.

I used to be a little bit envious of my friends' consistent family traditions. They would always watch the same movie on Christmas Eve or always go to the same relative's house, or any number of other things. I would see them doing their special traditions and feel like I was missing out on having that special thing to look forward to at Christmastime. But I had something special. My family, with the exception of my dad's deployment to Iraq over a decade ago, has always been together for Christmas, no matter where or how we celebrated it.

We do some things consistently: we basically always have a tree of some sort, but we have had both artificial trees and real trees. We have gone and picked out and cut down our own trees, and we have had potted trees. Some years we decorate the tree in a certain style, others it's a free-for-all, and the tree looks like a gloriously mismatched toddler who has just dressed himself/herself for the first time.

I know families whose tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve, and others who do it Christmas morning or even that afternoon. Sometimes we open presents on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, or we do presents Christmas Eve and stockings Christmas morning. Or vice versa. Whatever we decide and what works best with our plans that year.

I love the freedom that not following traditions brings to our Christmas celebration. We don't feel obligated to do something because "that's how we celebrate Christmas" or "how Christmas is supposed to be celebrated." Rather, we are free to mix it up, try something new, or be flexible in our plans without feeling like we are not celebrating Christmas properly.

This year we are having lasagna for Christmas dinner; we have done the traditional ham and the somewhat traditional chicken, which are good, but for my family, lasagna is where it is at - and garlic bread, lots of garlic bread.

The non-tradition tradition also helps us to better focus on why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place, without having to worry about things that are ultimately frivolous. Additionally, my family doesn't feel pressured to do things a certain way to celebrate Christmas. We are allowed to be as spontaneous and creative as we want, and I love it.

P.S. We actually do have one tradition: every year we get an ornament that commemorates a major event/milestone our family has experienced that year. This is the only thing that I can think of that would be called a tradition. It is wonderful to be able to look at our tree and be reminded of how far we've come and all the things we have learned.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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