As you may have gathered from other columns I have written, I come from a tradition-heavy family. And Christmas is a tradition-heavy holiday.
Unfortunately, because my siblings and I have grown older, some of our traditions have fallen by the wayside. We have been lucky, however, to have a mother who is determined to keep tradition alive — even if it is a new tradition.
For example, in the past five years we have started a tradition of going to ICE, an ice-scupture spectacle in the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine. We go to the hotel, my dad complains about the wait (even though we go when the wait is about five minutes long) and we bundle up to look at some ice.
We always pose for a family photo in front of the green screen at the entrance to ICE. Later, the people at the event put in a background and you can purchase a copy. We always end up buying a copy, but my mother also always insists that we get a photo with our own camera.
If you aren’t following, don’t worry, neither is my mother. The photo we buy has a beautiful winter wonderland behind it, but the one my mother takes just has a giant green blanket. We’ve tried to explain it to her, but she doesn’t seem to care. Who knows? Maybe she just likes the color green.
Our other tradition is to decorate our family Christmas tree. At our parents house, you may walk in to see a giant, beautifully-decorated tree in the foyer. It is a fake tree that my mother decorates herself with a decorator friend. Walk into the living room, however, and you will see our family Christmas tree.
It is a real tree that we cut down ourselves every year and decorate as a family. In a family, it would be the cousin you lock in an attic when company comes over. It just really isn’t something for the eyes of people who don’t understand it.
You would think with age, we would have learned how to make something look pretty, but no, we just like putting up the ornaments. We each have certain ornaments that only we can put up — my first Christmas, the ornament I made when I was in first grade and one with Superman.
Again, we are lucky to have a mother who is able to remember all of the various ornaments and who gets to put them up. Sometimes we forget, but she always remembers. Once all of the ornaments have been placed, one person gets to put the angel on the top of the tree.
As children, this was a coveted treat. It meant we got to get on my dad’s shoulders and rise above everyone else in the house and put the finishing touch on Christmas. One year when I was a child, however, it all went terribly wrong.
I was terrified to let the angel go all night long because I thought someone would take it from me, scurry up on my dad’s shoulders and put the angel on the tree before I could stop them. Therefore, I had a death grip on that angel for the rest of the night.
I even took it to the bathroom with me — yeah, you see where this is going. I was excited because it was almost time to put the angel on the tree, but in my excitement I was running and while running, the angel slipped out of my hands. For a moment, the angel was flying through its air in all of its majesty — before it came crashing down to earth and right into the toilet bowl.
There were many tears and hugs, but we got the angel dried off and I still got to put it on the tree, but every year it is my turn to put the angel on the tree I still hear about the drop heard round the world. We don’t get to climb on my dad’s shoulders anymore because my brother and I weigh as much as him (because of all of our muscles, of course), but the tradition lives on and that is the great thing about Christmas.
Luke Harris is the editor of the Burleson Star. His other favorite thing about Christmas is Christmas cookies. Anyone reading this can take that information and do what they will. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.