Tradition—Each year as December rolls around and my to do list looks like a papyrus scroll, a hand width deep, I question once again the many traditions I have continued over the years. Here are just a few—There is the baking of at least a dozen different delectable cookies and candies to be given to family and friends (I must insert here, without my daughter’s help this would have been whittled down many a year ago). Of course everyone on my shopping list receives a book, to take him or her into other worlds and peoples lives. Then there is the annual purchase of PJ’s searched specifically for each child and grandchild (Have I ever mentioned we have seven children plus spouses and significant others, and six grandchildren), that my friends, is a bundle of soft, fuzzy shopping. Now add in the stocking stuffers, individual presents, decorating, finding the perfect tree. Well, I’m certain you have your own to do lists and traditions to juggle. I must add a newer tradition of the past few years; one I’ve shared with friends who have grown children of their own. We now celebrate our “family” Christmas the weekend before the actual day. This way we get to have all of our family together without the “it’s the in-law’s year” or “the kids just want to stay home”. It is after all, about the joy of being together, isn’t it? I have friends who question my sanity, but when I hear our grandchildren or children enthusiastically discussing our family traditions, all of my weary hours fall away and I am enveloped in the warmth of love, sparkling eyes and laughter.
What you might ask does this have to do with writing? My answer is two-fold.
First, do your fictional characters have traditions they adhere to? Let’s say you have a person who grew up in a home with everything decorated for Christmas, right down to the red and white stripped, knitted cover on the toilet paper roll. What does it say about this character when they now won’t even have a small, decorated tree in their home? Tradition—we each have something we continue or discontinue from our childhood—so use it to create fascinating people to populate your stories.
Second, many years ago, I began writing a Christmas Poem to go along with our annual Christmas letter better known as “The Family Newspaper”. Again, while it’s very time consuming to not only create a poem and then write about each child—it’s a tradition now expected. I’ve shared this year’s poem below. What traditions have you maintained or let go?
Ho, Ho, Ho…
Help I am buried from the top of my head to the tip of my toes,
in shiny wrapping paper, scotch tape and curly red bows.
And our home once again, drips in twinkling white fairy lights.
While the Elf on the Shelf, is set to take his nightly flights.
Yes it is Christmas, that most glittering, magical time of year,
when my cup runneth over with glad tidings, and good cheer.
Who am I kidding? My home is a wreck and I’m a nervous mess!
There, it feels good to get that off my chest, and confess.
OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way,
let us look back to see what the year 2015 had to say.
The Supreme Court ruled “Marriage Equality for All”.
Now each state, must abide their legally binding call.
Finally Marijuana can be used in our fair state, without fear of incarceration,
now perhaps we will see all of its glorious benefits, in regard to medication.
Politicians, politicians, they are everywhere.
Spouting rhetoric filled with despair.
Is our government balanced and fair?
More importantly do they, still even care?
Perhaps we should look further, as into outer space,
where The New Horizon has shown us worlds, such as Pluto’s face.
Or we could follow the humane spirit of our Heisman trophy winner
Marcus Mariota, a man we’d surely love to have to dinner.
Oh I know there is much to discuss and to debate,
but I do not, and will not, ever give in to the division of hate.
After all, “The Force Will Awaken” this December to remind us all,
how light ultimately overcomes darkness, right before the fall.
Then there are those, to whom we must bid a fond adieu,
such as Mr. BB King. Yes “The Thrill is Gone”, without you.
And where oh where, will my nightly nightmares go to rest,
without Mr. Craven’s terror filled stories, to put them to the test?
Now I do hope Mr. Yogi Berra, is hitting them high,
cause, “it ain’t over till it’s over” in heaven’s cloudy sky.
Well my packages are all wrapped and piled as high as the tree,
and I’ve calmed my frantic nerves and am able to see more clearly.
What I see is that I am truly blessed beyond measure,
in the love of my family and friends; you are all my true treasure.
So I will leave you with these parting words from my now departed, Vulcan friend.
“Live Long And Prosper”—I bid you a Goodnight and The End.