Jesus E Soltero

United States

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a Different Tradition

December 10, 2018

    Traditions, especially those within Christmas month, are always practiced sacredly each year in most families. It can be tradition to open one present before Christmas day, or watch a holiday movie in the family.  Though, my families’ tradition mostly remains the same since childhood, there are now irreplaceable components that I will never experience in my life again.
            Its these traditions that add vigor in our December. I mean why do we hang and decorate on our houses? put up Christmas  trees? make a dinner feast? go on present shopping sprees? why are we compelled to celebrate Christmas or other types of holidays in winter? the only given reason we all do these things, it’s just cause its traditional to do so. Not all family gatherings are entirely the same since we all practice different sets of traditions, leaving my family idea of celebrating different from others. My family yearly plans a getaway trip, to a little cabin which my family owns only for Christmas week. It’s located in a place called Ruidoso, a heavily forested, mountainous area that is two hours away from my home city of El Paso.
    We usually depart for Ruidoso on the 21st of December but shortly arrive back to El Paso on Christmas Eve. We first arrive to our house, and get ready to visit the multiple places various branches of our family would celebrate Christmas. We’ll first arrive in my aunt’s house, since she’s nearest to our home, and see cousins that I only see once a year. Traditionally, we would then start heading to my grandma on my mother’s side, which is on the other side of El Paso, my grandma was always passionate about the holidays, she would decorate every inch and angle of her home with Christmas decorations. Her home on Christmas Eve was always less noisy and crowded since the only immediate family that visited was me, brother’s, parents, aunt, and her occasional boyfriend.
 Finally, we would head to my grandparent’s house on my dad side. While the last two places contain the traditional festive feast such as Turkey, Ham, Smash Potatoes, and eggnog, my grandparents being more unique, (and cheap) about eating decide to use Chinese food to celebrate, since they’re friends with every owner with a Chinese restaurant in the entire city. My older cousins, and I, would knock on a door leading outside, yelling “HO HO HO” before running away from the scene, leaving presents in the doorstep, giving the Illusion to the younger kids that Santa gave them a visit and left gifts.
     After visiting three different places, all involving eating and interacting with family members, by the end of the night, I would naturally get tired. So, when we finally arrive home at 1 in the morning, I will directly head to bed to sleep. Eight hours later, we would wake and head to the Christmas tree, to open present, and the next day we would head back to Ruidoso since we don’t relinquish the cabin until the 28th. that’s how the regular routine for our Christmas would be, until now this December.
     This year is a lot different than the one before, this year, my mother’s grandma and one of my aunts passed away. They were the best cookers in the family, but now the only thing that remains of their cooking is their recipes. Now my mother and my remaining aunts are trying to pick up the slack of making the holiday feast. The loss of my grandparent, one of my most favorite person in my life means that I will never experience the tradition of Christmas at her house this year, this coming December. I’ve refused to visit her old house, the familiar setting of her furniture, paintings, libraries, vases, and utensils long gone, either sold off or inherited into our house, as her house is being prepared to be rented. We now have all her Christmas decorations, so our house is crowded for the holidays with ours and her decorations in the house. Her absence in my life reminds me that the familiar landscape of my family traditions is uphold by the elderly in the family. Only my aunt and grandparents remain the same for this year, but it makes me fear, that one day it wouldn’t be the same, when they are no longer here.
    So, is that how traditions die? No, their survival depends on future generations to practice what their parents and ancestors practiced. That’s how ancient cultures and practices manage to survive the passage of time, since their children kept on keeping what they learn from their parents and passed it to their kids. I would celebrate the holidays like my family did, even if the environment is different. Go on getaways trips, decorate everything with Christmas, order Chinese food to eat during Christmas eve, knock on door behaving like Santa. This how I experienced the wondrous feeling of tradition and I fully intend to pass it towards my children, and grandchildren to continue.


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  • December 10, 2018 - 3:04pm (Now Viewing)

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