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Christmas Tradition
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Smartiplants' entry asked, "What is your favorite Christmas Tradition?" And I wrote the following entry. Sometimes someone just asks the right question:

I know this sounds odd (but no one has ever accused my family and circle of friends of being ordinary): At Christmastide we used to choose the home of the most distant family/friend person to visit, either on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or the day after Christmas. The person might be the most distant in terms of miles, in terms of years, in terms of health (failing). We (the rest of us) would bring the entire feast: tables (folding) chairs (folding) table cloths, eating utensils, food, presents, tree (artificial), ornaments, etc. Not to mention children, dogs, friends of friends and other assorted items.

In the spirit of Joseph and Mary's trip to Bethlehem to be counted, we would trek to this person's house, clean it (if necessary), set up the tree and decorate it, lay out the food and share presents, music and memories. More than once it was the person's last Christmas or the last one before moving overseas, or one time, the last one before my cousin Eileen went into a secluded convent.

Lots of memories. After several decades, most of the family and friends are no longer with us to celebrate in the flesh. Heaven is a little too far to travel, so we go wassailing these days to the relatives and friends (who after all, are family of the spirit if not of the blood) who are still with us, and then to a home for retired/handicapped people, to share with them, in the name of bygone days and departed loved ones.

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