One Tradition After Another by Kerry K
December was always one full month of delicious food, seasonal scents, jingle bells, and sparkle. All month long, one tradition after another, each one better than the last.
My younger brother and I were born blind, the two youngest in a family of four. The surfaces of the chocolate advent calendars our grandparents would buy us were smooth and indistinguishable for the two of us, until my mother would open up each door and punch the braille dots necessary to label every day’s number to follow along. The red and green construction paper linked Christmas chain my brother had hanging up in his room was colourless to him, but I loved the pattern and my favourite holiday bright red, counting the days.
Whether it was spaghetti dinners on Christmas Eve or my big brother helping his three siblings clean out the fireplace for Santa – I relished every single year, filled to the brim with these familiarities. They would come, once a year, like clockwork, when the snow would fall and school holiday break would begin.
Whether it was my parents’ generation, mine, and now the next – I cling to the memories of what once was, reluctantly let go of my childhood, and reach for new memories made.
For a while it was going to a movie in the days following Christmas Day.
Family members would come and go, girlfriends and boyfriends, elderly grandparents, and now husband or wife – children are born and the love to be found in our circle grows.
My parents’ generation watched Christmas specials on TV in the 60s – the same ones my mother taped off of television around this time of year and onto VHS tape in the 80s and 90s, watched over and over again – these are the same ones my brother downloads digitally for his children now.
Whether it’s the magic of Christmas snow, sad little Christmas trees that become so special, or a grouchy man who tries to ruin Christmas – these stories I absorbed as a girl, along with my siblings. These same holiday favourites play in the background today and become the stuff my niece and nephews will learn to love, all the tomorrows to come, all the years to follow. They look forward to these things, traces of what we always loved, becoming the stuff they look forward to once a year.
These stories are art, magic, light. I cling to this light and I never forget its blinding brilliance, no matter how complicated life and adulthood may get.
Over time, we learn it’s not about the toys, jewelry, electronics. It’s about the family, siblings, the warmth and the love of the season we’ve always shared.
Any and all fights over toys forgotten in time, my siblings, we sure had these. All that fades in the preceding years, leaving the one-of-a-kind bond we will forever hold to.
It all adds up to a richness in memories and a lifetime of joy. Every inch of our past Christmas tradition is now melding into a future, like the linking of a chain of red and green.
I want to dedicate this door, if I may, in the blogging advent calendar to my little brother and my family. The holidays would mean nothing at all if I didn’t have you guys. This year, especially, I hold my loved ones near.
“Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow,” is the line from a Christmas song that speaks to me most of all, because none of us ever know how many we have granted with the people we love most. I am tired – so much to take for granted, and yet I want only peace and family to be found on the inside of my door.
About the Author:
Kerry is a writer and blogger. She was born visually impaired. She writes to make sense of the world around her. Without words she truly would be in the dark.
She has a Certificate of Creative Writing and has written a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
She had a short essay published on BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog and just recently she was included in a romance anthology:
You can find her, as Her Headache, at her blog:
Or on Facebook and Twitter:
Kerry lives in Ontario, Canada with her literary-themed dog and cat: Dobby and Lumos.