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Holiday Tradition
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We have one holiday tradition that seems to have survived all down the years, from one generation to the next, in spite of transitions, moving, divorce, and death.

We decorate the tree each year, as usual, with whatever ornaments come to hand: round ornaments, angel on top, garlands of tinsel, snowflake ornaments, a whole gaggle of tiny musical instruments hanging from their golden strings.

The special time comes after the ordinary decorating of the tree: the addition of the yearly ornaments.

Each year we buy (or make) an ornament of the year. Each year's ornament is chosen to commemorate something special (joyful or sad) about the previous 12 months, and the year is marked with permanent marker in some inconspicuous place.

As each yearly ornament is hung on the tree, some member of the family recounts the anecdote associated with the particular year's choice. For instance, last year we had a swaddled baby on a snowflake, chosen for the birth of my brother-in-law's first grandbaby. Every year from now on, we will remember 2008 as the year that Tyler joined the family.

The stories are being passed on to the new generation. Last year, as the 2003 ornament was being placed on the tree (it shows a bagpiper with a santa hat), Colin (9 years old) spoke up and said, "I remember the reason for that one. That ornament reminds us of Uncle Chuck who died that year. This is how we remember him in his kilt, skirling the bagpipe." For the first time, he wanted to play an active part in the story telling.

So the memories and the gift of family are passed from generation to generation, as each member of the younger set now wants to be the one who speaks for a particular year, even for the years before their birth (we have yearly items dating back to the 50's, though not for every year--time has taken its toll).

It's a nice tradition that enfolds the whole family and honors the roots from which we come.

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