I talk about family heirlooms and sentimental attachment while I am in the middle of decluttering my guest bedroom.
My family tradition growing up was Christmas was always celebrated in my neighbors house. I grew up in a very small country village ( it wasn’t even a town because it was to small). My parents had moved away for my dads job so we were nowhere near any immediate family. Christmas Eve was always doing Vallejo ( it’s a polish tradition ) in honor of my grandmother. Then we would go to a candlelight Christmas church service. I grew up in a small area so there was maybe 20 people in this mass. Then we would go home and hope that Santa would arrive. In the morning my mom would make a massive breakfast or potatoes, spicy potatoes ( we would get different spices from all over the world , we traveled a lot when I was a child), snausages ( yes that is what I called them), and my mom would make her famous cheesecake. We would pack up baskets and sing Christmas carols while walking down the street to our neighbors house. Usually the whole village was invited so there were maybe 15 of us. My neighbors owned the old inn that was built in the town. They had a great big serving room to host everyone. We would all pile in with our food for the offering table. Then we would eat, sing Christmas carols, swap books and talk about movies. It was tradition afterwards to go see a movie. My favorite ones were Little Women ( 1994) and The Lord of the Rings all three. Then after eating and dividing up the leftovers we would walk back to our house. We did this every year since I can remember.
Now that I have children of my own family traditions have changed a bit. Neighbors move away and life goes on. What is exciting with change is the possibilities of new traditions. Now my husband and I have become expert gingerbread architects. We also still make my grandmothers family recipe of poppy seed. My daughter and I now keep the tradition going with a lot of help from my mother. We also do a big Christmas breakfast but this time my parents host it. When my sister isn’t traveling ( she lives a pretty awesome life) she also comes and joins in the festivities. If you read my other blog Hiking With Kids you would know that we also always do a new years day hike. The thing that is beautiful about change is you get to start new things. I have such great memories of my childhood Christmas but I love the new ones too. I can’t wait to see when my kids have grown what traditions they start.
Nothing beats getting some fresh air out in nature. Close your eyes and imagine. You are walking along a trail all you can hear is your footsteps, along with small rustles in the leaves. You hear the soft drip of rain drops falling onto the leaves and then slowly onto the ground. You take in a deep breath of fresh air. You can smell wet leaves along with a hint of evergreen. You feel relaxed and at peace with your surroundings.
We did our annual new years hike. This is a hike tradition we try to keep up with every year. Yes we hike often with our kids but it is something special about a fresh start to the new year. Getting some much needed mountain air. Where we live it is very cold in the winter. We bundle the kids up wear some boots and hit the trail. It was such a chilly damp day. The type of damp that unless you are warming up by a woodstove you never feel warm. It still gave a sense of comfort walking around in the forest. Growing up I was always hiking with my mom. We camped a lot in the summer and early fall. We were always on an adventure to some place or something. I don’t know if I dragged her along for the ride or she me. Some of the best memories you have as a child are the ones that weren’t a planned event or even a big event. My best memories were just having fun out in the wilderness with my family. No big moments just memories.
The great outdoors is in my families soul. Hiking and camping is a generational thing. I am glad we can keep it going with my family. I hope one day my kids will pass it onto their kids and so on.