Holidays: It's a... Family Tradition

Monday, November 13, 2017

By Rob Oxford

I recently received my annual evite to the "Turkey Gobble Gobble Flag Football" game. An 8 year Thanksgiving Day tradition started by a friend. Pitting parents against their kids, the number of participants fluctuates from year to year, but weather permitting there's always a sizable turnout and if you ask the parents, they usually win.

I would venture to guess that every family in America has some sort of tradition or custom they observe annually. Not limited to, but quite often beginning with the holiday season. From the simple to the extravagant, the idea is to pass down from generation to generation an action or behavior that becomes an annual practice. Often it is a reminder of those who came before us and a memory to be shared with those we leave behind.

Some people pick the weekend of Thanksgiving to start decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah or the particular religious celebration their family chooses to observe. Our family celebrates Christmas and much to my wife's consternation, I usually finish decorating around the 20th of December.

Other traditions may include giving more of yourself during the holiday season by visiting a local retirement home, donating food or blankets to a local shelter or simply trying to be more patient while shopping on Black Friday. Unfortunately these days, the latter can be a real challenge.

Thanksgiving Day for the Oxfords means attempting to sleep in, which is usually more trouble than it's worth. Then comes the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed closely by what will prove to be the first of many viewings of the holiday classic "National Lampoon's: Christmas Vacation". I laugh hysterically each time Uncle Lewis says; "You couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant"...I'm actually laughing just writing that sentence.

Then of course there's the meal. Eating until you pass out is probably the most time honored holiday tradition, but some families choose to go out for dinner, some have a neighborhood potluck and some prefer a light snack and tickets to a movie. Others play board games and many travel over the river and through the woods. Considering we live right next door to Grandmother, fortunately for me the traffic is always very light.

When my sons were younger, they were required to list "10 Things For Which They Were Thankful" (see photo). I'm not sure what I attempted to accomplish by assigning them this task, but the completed list was usually good for a laugh if nothing else.

By day I'm a Traffic Control Supervisor and work quite a lot during the holidays, so I always have the Seattle Tree Lighting at Westlake Center to look forward to, the building of Santa's Workshop at Nordstroms downtown, Seattle's Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Seattle Marathon as well as Snowflake Lane in Bellevue. All can be fun family traditions, that if you've never had the chance to experience, I highly suggest.

But most of all cherish the time spent with family, enjoy even the petty arguments -- and when meeting your child's new boyfriend or girlfriend, do your best to make them feel as nervous as possible. After all, It's a Family Tradition.


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