Because That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It!


Photo courtesy of Otto Norin on Unsplash

My sister Bev shared that as her whole family sat around their Thanksgiving table, someone asked, “What are we doing for Christmas?”

Bev’s grown son (who himself has adult children) looked as though someone had just made an inappropriate remark. “Why, we’re coming here, of course. Just like always,” he replied.

Many kids, even grown-up ones, really like to hold on to the traditions of the Christmas season.

I recall that after my own children were out of high school, I suggested altering the Christmas Day breakfast. My son Tim threw a fit. How could I even suggest NOT having cinnamon rolls as part of breakfast on Christmas?

Sometimes the cycle of life breaks traditions for us. As little ones grow up, get married, buy a home, and have their own little ones, going “over the river and through the woods” to Grandma’s house may lose some of the original appeal.

And as the Matriarch of the family herself ages, cooking, cleaning, and baking for a group of people (even those she loves dearly) begins–as the years unfold–to be a bit too much. I’m actually dreading the year that I start to feel those twinges that, “maybe this is the last year for this.”

We expect life to go on status quo. This time, this present, feels as if it will last forever, even as logically we know that to be untrue.

My Episcopal church uses handmade kneelers, and each one tells its own brief story of the person for whom it’s dedicated. Looking at the kneelers you can guess from the dates of his life and death, that this sailor did not survive World War II. And that young girl didn’t even make it to age eleven. This woman lived to 97.

After spending thirty years at St. James’ some of the people named on the kneelers I recall. But many I do not. That makes me feel a bit sad. These people, regardless of how long they lived, each mattered tremendously to their families and friends.

During the Christmas season we especially remember all those who are no longer part of our earthly family. They are a deep part of our traditions and in this way we feel a special closeness.

So yes, the Thatchers will still be serving cinnamon rolls for Christmas Day breakfast.



7 thoughts on “Because That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It!

  1. Judy Jones says:

    Traditions are hard to let go of. As i unpack the tons of Christmas decorations and relive some of the wonderful memories. Tree ornaments from my mother’s World War ll tree, no metal. The handmade ornaments from my boys growing up, the purchased ones with the date on them that recognized some special event that year, the every year White House ones, the Hallmark ornaments, a new one each year for all of us, the special ornament gifts from friends and family, many handmade. And the most precious—the ones that have my children’s picture on them. And this is just the beginning. The dread of pulling it all out and then the amazing yet sometimes sad, walk down memory lane, as each room is decorated. The Nutcracker Suite, The Old World Santa room, The Angel and Nativity Room, Mr. & Mrs. Claus’s room, The Beary Merry Christmas Room, The Snowmen’s room, The Thoroughly Modern 22nd Century room, The Currier and Ives Nostalgia Room, The Hands On Animated room, and Santa’s Workshop. It has brought joy to many children of all ages.
    I have to admit that i haven’t done all of this for the past four years since our son, Russell’s death. But, I know he is watching over us from Heaven. We have our own Angel.
    It is a joyous Season celebrating the real reason for Christmas, The Birth of Jesus Christ. We are reminded of the life he led and the things he taught us and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our sins. And especially the gift he has given to us of eternal life. With that day to look forward to, where we will be reunited with our son in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. We are humbled, grateful, and blessed.
    Merry CHRISTmas to all

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      Well, I thought I was all cried out for today, but I was wrong. Russell is present in those traditions, and when you decide to take them on again one day, he’ll be cheering you on. I love you, my friend.

  2. Marie says:

    Norma, Judy Jones shared your blog. It was so meaningful. I am reaching the time I can no longer do all the decorating and cooking that I enjoyed so much; however, I am so grateful and blessed to have a wonderful church family who provide love, support and prayers . Merry Christmas.

  3. Beverly says:

    I’m responding late because I hadn’t been receiving your blog. Anyway, Christmas was once again a joyous time at our house with everyone present except granddaughter, Erica (trip to NC). Everyone is wonderful about bringing a covered dish so that it is a very easy and relaxing day. The best part is just being together as a family.

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      I still haven’t found that sweet spot of relaxing. I thought I had it this year, but no, still bustling around, even with all the help. My husband cooks like he grew that garden at Bellevue Farms; enough to feed half of Warrenton. How can I convince him to cut down?!?!?

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