To Do

To Do

277. Start a tradition

My Story

Updated June 1, 2009

In another lifetime, I was married to a man who was enlisted in the Marine Corps. We couldn’t afford to visit our families on most holidays, and many other soldiers couldn’t either, so I would prepare holiday meals, and we’d invite other soldiers over to share the feast with us.

My favorite thing to do was to ask each guest for one of their family’s holiday traditions, so we could observe it at our celebration and make the meal that much more meaningful. One young man wanted chocolate milk with thanksgiving dinner. He’d never been allowed to drink chocolate milk growing up, but his parents allowed him the indulgence on Thanksgiving, so it had become a tradition for him to wash down his turkey with chocolate milk. Another young man requested that I serve Cornish game hen. When I said, “Oh, did your family eat that instead of turkey?” he answered that they had both, to remind them to be thankful for the little things as well as the big.

When we observe these traditions, it’s a reminder of all the holidays we’ve celebrated together in the past, and a link to the holidays we’ll celebrate in the future. When we observe the traditions started by our parents and our grandparents, we carry on their legacy and make space for them to live on in our lives. I’d like to start my own traditions with my own family so that my children and grandchildren will be able to carry them on and pass them along to their children.


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