The Joy of Holiday Traditions

I love holidays. Most people do. We had traditions growing up that just were, like any other family. Since dad was a dairy farmer, we could not open gifts on Christmas morning until after he'd milked the cows, cleaned up, and ate breakfast. (When you're up at 4AM and have been working like a farmer for 4 hours, you deserve to eat a hot breakfast before allowing kids to open gifts. And if you're a kid and have been waiting for hours to open presents, what's breakfast? Plus, we had morning chores to do anyway. Animals need to eat, and bottle fed calves can't fend for themselves.)

On New Year's Day, our family crowded around Grandma's teensy dinner table (all 18 of us) and grossly underappreciated the best home cooking in the world before the cousins would grab the sleds and head to the Back 40. The hill in the cow pasture is the bomb diggity for sledding. And it was tradition that mom would have homemade (with milk!) hot chocolate for us when we got back, complete with toast to dip in it.

Traditions are what makes memories awesome, and they don't even have to be fancy. But it was just today that I realized I have a holiday tradition that most people would completely scoff at. In fact, if you're a neat freak, you'll probably want to just click out now and go find something else to read.

When we built this house 6 years ago, we started hosting all holidays. Mom opened her empty rooms into a Bed & Breakfast after the kids married away, and generally had guests on holidays, so it made sense for someone else to host. Plus, we wanted to use our new home to it's fullest. Win-win. So now every Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Easter, we're converged upon, chaos reigns, the kids have a grand old time, and a fairly decent holiday is had by all.

So while we'll sit around the dinner table long after we've finished eating, nobody does much to clean up. Chatting is where it's at. I have learned from experience that once someone gets up, adults seem to remember that they have lives they need to get back to. I'll turn down offers to help with dishes, because I'd prefer everyone just sit and visit. So when everyone leaves, the mess is scattered everywhere.

The aftermath of a holiday kinda leaves us exhausted. A day of cleaning and cooking in preparation just doesn't inspire me to get right on the dishes when I finally have a chance to relax. I'll neatly stack the plates and organize the glassware on the counter next to the sink, store the leftovers, and clean out the pots on the stove. But after that, I wait until morning to tackle the rest.

I'm greeted with a huge mess upon waking, but todayI realized that this is my holiday tradition. Waking up to dirty dishes stacked 20 high, limited silverware in the drawer, and messy countertops kinda makes me happy. (I didn't say it made sense, I said it's my tradition.) As I begin Round 1 with the dishwasher, I think of the good time we had with family and friends. As I wipe counters and tables, I think of how grateful I am to have family close by. Cleaning post-holiday gives me more time to revel in the holiday mood, and I have decided that I love waking up to a mess in the kitchen. It means that we have plenty of food to eat, lots of people to share with, and a home to entertain in.

Holiday traditions are awesome, as are dirty dishes in a messy kitchen.

1 comment:

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

No scoffing here. I love this tradition of yours and am glad you shared the perspective. Great post with great points.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!