Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I thought for the rest of my posts for this week, I would share a couple of Christmas traditions in my family.

When we were growing up, we had several families we were good friends with that all had kids around the same ages. I'm not sure if my mom and her friends were trying to fulfill some picture of the perfect Christmas or just liked to throw parties. But one year when my younger brother and sister were still toddlers, they decided we should all get together and go Christmas caroling.

There were four families, consisting of 15 kids (though not all were there in the beginning) and eight adults. We rotated houses every year, gathering to eat dinner and then hit the neighborhood singing. I wouldn't say that we were the most talented group, and we had a limited selection of songs to sing, but I think our neighbors were pretty pleased to open their door and see 23 carolers. (Sidenote: On Sunday night, I actually had the experience of being caroled to for the first time, and it is pretty fun to open the door to singing.)

There are some funny memories from that time. We often tried to get complicated with our songs, but then no one would know the words, so we'd just break into "We wish you a merry Christmas." I think Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer were our most frequent songs. And one year my mom put together songbooks to add variety.

We also attempted carrying candles one year. Why any adult thought that was a good idea, I don't know. Even worse, we had just had an ice storm and were slipping everywhere as we walked through the neighborhood. It may have been the next year that we loaded up in the back of a pick-up truck for a "hayride" between houses. This was a good idea, but somehow the youngest of all of us was stepped on in one of the unloadings and ended up with a broken collarbone. She is also the one that was born one year during caroling, and so we get to celebrate her birthday every year. She turns 20 this year if that gives you a time reference.

It's been several years since my mom withheld food until we actually went caroling, but up until last year we still gathered for dinner and time to catch up. By now of course, everyone has spread out, and there are four married kids so it's just not feasible to get us all together anymore. But I have to say it was a pretty good tradition for us and pretty cool that 20-some odd years later we were hanging out with friends we've had since birth.

Last year was the end of the tradition, our parents all had dinner but the kids were not obligated to go. I was actually flying home that night, and when I got to where my layover was, I ran into one of the guys that was part of this caroling group. We got to catch up, and just like when we used to carpool everywhere, our parents just dispatched my sister to pick up both of us.

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