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Monday, December 05, 2005

Tradition, Interrupted

My parents are traditional in a sense. They love the holidays or rather the routine of the holidays. My mom cracks the whip on my dad the day after Thanksgiving to get all 50 boxes (no joke) of Christmas decorations out of the attic. He spends the next week, stringing up lights, affixing wreaths to doors, lamposts and mailboxes, putting up the 2 trees and hanging the way-high ornaments since my mom is only 5'2".

My mom covers every available surface with Christmas cheer. She starts the shopping in June. The envelopes are addressed, stamped and ready for the handmade card (mom is an artist) by Dec 1st. The handwritten notes get applied to all 500 (again, not kidding) cards by Dec 8th; they are all mailed on Dec 9th.

And so it has been for the last 43 years of their lives together.

My sister and I have tried over the years to get them to break with tradition, just a little. We have had some success, we no longer MUST have the ham and the turkey. Which actually makes sense since my sister is vegetarian and I'm kinda-vegetarian. But we had to pay a price for that, now my sister and I cook Christmas dinner. Its good, actually, and my mom has so enjoyed the break from the kitchen.

We went a little too far this year suggesting that we ditch the presents, cards and gathering at someone's home for vacationing in Mexico or maybe St. Thomas. But we did get them to agree not to buy presents (except for the grandkids, of course) and instead take that money and donate it to a charitable cause.

I'm doing this myself. I have one box of cards leftover from last year, after those are gone, I won't be buying more. Last year I spent over $400 on cards, stamps, label sheets and toner cartridges. This year I'm donating that amount to St. Judes Children's Hospital.

I just think its a better use of time and money, rather than sending out something commercial which usually winds up in the trash on Jan 1st.


Blogger Adam said...

That is a terrific idea! So much waste happens this time of year because people get things or buy things for others that no one really wants or needs. Will your life be all the more enriched with a Soduku calendar? I think making a donation in the name of a friend or loved one is a great idea. My friends live in Cali and in NY so this year I told them that we should just save our money so we can all meet in NY this year. Spending time with them is far more valuable than sending them some gift they won't use.

10:35 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Couldn't agree more, Adam!

I have boxes of picture frames and vases received as gifts that sit in a closet because I have no space to display them.

3:14 PM


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