When Traditions Change

Changing With The Times

Typically for Christmas, I prepare the menu, I purchase all the gifts, I put up the decorations, I did it all. With the birth of Liam, there was a new beating in my heart. Since he was old enough to decorate the Christmas tree, it was our tradition to put it up together and take it down. He loves ornaments. I never owned an ornament until he was old enough to decorate the Christmas tree. Now packed away in storage, Liam (my oldest grandson) and I, have over 200 Christmas ornaments. Some that he’s made throughout the years, some which he’s picked out, some I have picked up along the way. I asked him a few months ago if he was going to be sad because Nana was not decorating a tree with him this year (because my house is so small). He just looked at me and smiled and said: “it’s alright Nana, we can save our ornaments and do it another year”.

I thought about it further, my family has changed so much. I have more grandchildren, my brother’s family has grown larger and older, both of my children are married now. Everyone wants to have their own traditions or events, what I held as my tradition was lost along the way. Christmas honestly has turned into a chore for everyone in my family. For me it was special, for everyone else, my tradition seemed to be an inconvenience.

Now this year would be completely different. Different in so many ways. I was in a different house, happier than last year. My eldest son does not celebrate Christmas, he has made it clear for years that he did not want to celebrate, married now, happily. I had a minimal scheduled and set time with my grandchildren, grateful for any time. My youngest son is now wanting to establish his own traditions. My brother was not having a “family” gathering, it was “family and friends”, and on a night in which Ed was working, I went, had fun, truly missed Ed not joining in the festivities.  My responsibilities were limited this year, much as they were last.

Ed knew from our conversations, this year may be a little tougher on me. He was very supportive and shared stories of his family and their traditions. Last year I recall how he talked about Christmas being his mother’s favorite time of the year too.

Leading up to the days before Christmas, I began to feel at ease, I was looking forward to a change. Planning the Christmas Eve meal with Ed’s mother and Christmas morning breakfast. Ed’s mother was including me. She was allowing me to make side dishes and even bring deserts. Ed seemed excited as he continued to tell me more about the traditions. I was so happy knowing that he would have quality time with his son. I love buying gifts too. I was looking forward to Christmas, I was not dreading it.

We waited until one night to wrap ALL the gifts, from the grandchildren to the parents. I did not think I would be able to stand afterward. The living room started to look like Christmas. Throughout the week, we dropped gifts off at Ed’s parent’s house to have less to carry over on Christmas Eve.

We held to a strict time schedule. Christmas Eve morning we headed over to a welcoming atmosphere, everyone enjoyed an entire day of food, togetherness, ongoing conversation, and laughter. Christmas morning, before breakfast, we all opened gifts. It was amazing. I was treated as a part of the family in this event as well. Ed’s family holds the true meaning of the “Christmas Spirit”. There were gifts from Santa. Ed’s parents are the most delightful and joyful adults I have witnessed ever, not just during the holidays. Their excitement is contagious.

We were able to share two entire, quality filled days with his son, parents, and his sister.

Some of my favorite moments 

  • The beautiful Christmas tree and decorations.
  • Watching Michael open his huge box filled with food, from Ed and I. He is a college student.
  • Ed’s mom opening gifts that she bought herself from his dad and acting surprised. She is so funny.
  • Ed’s dad’s smile as he watched his family enjoying.
  • Watching Ed’s sister open her gifts from us, especially her phantom crystal and her bubble baths.
  • Watching Ed’s smiling face for two straight days.
  • Drinking egg nog.
  • Helping Ed’s mother clean up after meals.
  • Feeling like a part of the family!

In Conclusion

A year ago, I could not fathom my life being this way. I did not envision a life of true happiness this soon.  Not only have I gained a wonderful man, in my heart, I have also found the love of my life. Along with him comes a wonderful, stable, loving and accepting family! I aspire to one day have the long-lasting and loving relationship that his parents share.

The older I grow, the more thankful and grateful I become for every single blessing in my life.

Witnessing true healthy love is hard. I often mention the thought of being born in another era when it comes to love. True love and families like this are rare.

I know that I have experienced happy holidays, sad holidays, okay holidays, this year was a complete holiday. I wish for every holiday to be this way. Where everyone is happy, thankful, grateful, loved and satisfied. Not by gifts, simply by sharing time, laughter, joy, and love!

Thank you, Lord, for this time in my life! Thank you for where I am currently. Thank you for this holiday season and for bringing this family into my life.

Now we have the New Year to look forward to!

happy family



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