A family tradition is something that one inherits from their parents or their ancestors. Our family had some traditions, but sadly only one is left now. A tradition is something that is handed down from generation to generation, which can be done by word of mouth or by practicing the same custom. It is important for every family to establish their own traditions, because they can offer numerous benefits, such as strengthening your family’s bonds, enriching the life that you share together, making a contribution to your children’s well-being and creating lasting memories.
Many family traditions are centered around sharing a family meal together. Prayers and giving thanks are some usually traditions. My family always had turkey for Thanksgiving and they always let me name the turkey, which for some odd reason I enjoyed doing. When I got married this tradition stopped as my wife said that she would not eat anything that had a name. She said she did not mind me giving the turkey a name, but if I told her the turkey’s name that she would not eat it and that took all the fun out of this tradition, so it was kaboshed.
Bed time stories at night are a beloved family tradition and my dad was a story teller, who made up all types of stories to hold my interest. I remember saying, ‘Please tell that story about the Tomato Monster again.’ In the same way that stories were a night time tradition, having to make my bed each morning was a daytime tradition. My dad was in the army and he told me and my siblings how his sergeant would come around his bunk every morning and bounce a quarter off his sheets, as part of the inspection. If the quarter bounced to a certain height, that meant that the sheets were tucked in tight and he would pass the inspection. He did not go through a thorough bed inspection every day, but when he did, I wanted to pass, because then my dad would let me keep the quarter.
My mom’s family was in the Mid-West and we lived on the East Coast and my parents understood the value of money having lived through the Great Depression. It seems so cheap to me now, but they had this way of cheating the phone company. They were very honest people and what they did was perfectly legal. We would often travel back and forth on family vacations and yes we sang songs in the car and we always stopped for picnics along the way, where we would eat fried chicken that my mom had prepared. When we arrived back at our house, my mom always notified her parents that we had arrived safely. She would call the phone company and ask to make a direct call to herself at her parents number and when the call went through her parents always declined, saying that she was not there. This was a family signal tradition that was carried out for years.
Many holidays are composed around traditional events. My mom always colored eggs for Easter and on Easter morning we always had an Easter egg hunt inside our house. It is a fun tradition for kids and my parents seemed to enjoy it just as much as us and they would do that ‘getting warmer’ or ‘getting cooler’ thing as we were all hunting the eggs. They were kind of inventive, as they would often unscrew light bulbs and hide eggs in the lamp sockets, which was sort of in plain sight, but also hidden by the lamp shade.
For Christmas we would all sit around the tree and one by one we would each grab a present and read the gift tag (To Jim From Santa) and then hand the present over to who it belonged to so they could open it. Every present was wrapped, even what I call the gag presents, which were supposed to be funny and hilarious. I knew it would happen every year and I always had to open up new underwear, which seemed like such a waste of time for me, as all I wanted was the good stuff. My parents seemed to derive pleasure at my disappointment when I complained that this was not a real gift.
The one family tradition that is still kept alive for me is eating spaghetti for dinner on opening day of football season every year. My dad started this tradition and he is gone now along with my mom. This year the first game will be played on Thursday, September 7, but when I was young there was no such thing as Thursday Night Football, except on Thanksgiving day. I wait till the first Sunday opening day to make my spaghetti dinner and I will keep this up as long as I am able to.