Be together. Celebrate traditions.

tree.jpgHoliday Traditions. Each of us have them. They can be as simple as putting up the same ornaments on your trees. We do a version of this. Each year my mother, father, and sister get together cut up a t-shirt and write in sharpie the date and the number of months it has been since my father’s diagnosis. We try to pick a shirt that represents something that happened that year. Our tree is now covered in t-shirts, reminding us how lucky we are. We accented the tree with purple since that is the color for pancreatic cancer. Warning: Purple lights on a green tree tend to make the tree look black!

Some of our other traditions have evolved as we have gotten older. As kids (well, we still actually do it) my sister and I would beg to open a present, one present, before church and/or dinner, I think we were successful one year. Like a lot of other kids we would also get up at the crack of dawn and sneak down to wake up our parents, who would then have to go out into the living room first to see what Santa had left not letting us out until they were settled. As a kid it felt like the longest 10-15 minutes EVER!

When my sister and I were both in college our family started changing it up. We would have our extended family over and once they left we would watch a Christmas movie then open our presents to each other at midnight. This is a current tradition we have, but our family is growing so I think we are on the cusp of a tradition change again.

Over the past couple years we have had more of our family staying with us for the holidays, which means we end up with about 8 people in total staying in our house with a couple dogs. It’s loud and crazy, but its family. That is the one tradition that stays true. Other traditions may come and go, or change with time, but family stays constant. We use this time to come together and celebrate family ties. We take a moment to stop and gather around the same table to spend an hour talking. These connections are what make the holidays special. So this holiday season take a moment to reflect and even if your family drives you nuts take a moment to appreciate them.

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