Friday, November 30, 2012


Traditions exist for a reason. Embedded deep within our individual psyche, traditions represent fond memories and actions we sometimes subconsciously treasure. They're often not practical, necessary, or outwardly significant, but there's a beauty to living by age-old customs; actions you know have been practiced for generations before you. Nostalgia is a magical and powerful thing.

Thanksgiving in Sacramento was different this year. New faces, new dishes, a new rhythm to the melody of the day. The pilgrim books weren't out on the coffee table and the string of leaves wasn't hanging in its usual place. The tablecloth covered in acorns and vibrantly colored leaves was missing and Keith Green didn't play. And yet, the box of my Johnson Brother's china emerged from the closet shadows and instantly sparked memories of cheerful preparations around a massive roasted turkey. The set had belonged to my mother who collected and protected them; I can't remember a Thanksgiving without those fragile plates and saucers. Sara got out her set of silver utensils that, again, used to belong to mom. We carefully set them according to table etiquette learned during our days as waitresses; knives protecting forks and spoons tucked just under the edge. Little by little, the Thanksgiving tables were transformed into the magnificent centerpieces of our childhood. Nostalgia is a magical and powerful thing.

Christmas this year is going to be very different as well. Come mid-December the Sacramento house will be strung with lights and a stately tree placed in the massive window beneath a star of gold. There will be a fireplace and mistletoe, eggnog and good old Bing Crosby singing on the radio. And while I'll be there for the pre-day festivities, on Christmas day I'll be with a different family far away from chilly Sacramento. It's going to be wonderful and I find myself thinking about December 20th on a daily basis...oftentimes hourly basis. I can't wait for my man to be home and I can't wait to be with him. And yet, my family will be hundreds of miles away and I'll be far from their hugs and laughter. In an effort to remain as close to Farrell traditions as possible, there is a tall douglas fir standing in my dorm's livingroom as we speak. It's full and straight with no gaping holes or strangely colored branches. Twinkling white lights sparkle off the fifty holiday ornaments we found at CVS for $10. There are paper snowflakes all around the room. The house smells like Christmas, and if I close my eyes, I'm our wide open livingroom bathed in wintery sunlight, listening to the cat play with the low-hanging branches. I'm there, with siblings goofing around, Mom humming "Mary Did You Know", and Dad making chicken soup in the kitchen. The aroma is deliciously overwhelming, full of spices and  simmering vegetables. The memories are beautiful; achingly beautiful. It's a life that no longer exists, but one we all try to recreate in our small little ways. For me, it's the tree. Nostalgia is a magical and powerful thing. 

1 comment:

Freckled Philologist said...

This is so beautiful. We had beautiful traditions and what joy to think that so many of them will carry on with you all.
Again, this post has touched my heart. Merry Christmas preparations!
Besos Mil esta estación Navideña.