Traditions and Symbols

I am now home from a long stay at my family’s farm in Mississippi where I celebrated my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I find great delight in the tradition of over indulging in turkey, cornbread dressing, and football. My mother prepares a traditional menu of turkey and dressing for the late afternoon meal. Then off to the couch to watch football or to a tree stand for deer hunting.

I have only spent one Thanksgiving away from the farm in my whole life. In 1994, I traveled with Aunt Wanda and Gran to visit my Aunt Phyllis in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a wonderful trip, but wasn’t the same as being with my mom and dad around their table. Loving Thanksgiving in Mississippi so much that prior to my marriage, I negotiated a deal to be in Winona during Thanksgiving and Birmingham at Chris’ family during Christmas. I am certain I ended up with the better end of this deal!

With Thanksgiving in Winona and Christmas spent in Birmingham with the Keys, my husband and I don’t have many holiday traditions of our own. Every year I spend countless hours wrapping gifts in brown paper and tying them with string. Just like the Sound of Music song “Favorite Things” states. We also exchange Christmas stockings wherever we find ourselves on Christmas morning. But sadly, we have not decorated a Christmas tree in our home.

This will mark the fifth Christmas as a married couple and each year our home on Willow Creek Drive has been without a tree. Most years we haven’t decorated the outside of our home. Other than the brown paper packages and Christmas stockings hung by the fire/gas logs, our home is without traditional signs of Christmas. Most often I justify this as we don’t have the time to decorate a tree or we won’t be in our home on Christmas Eve, so what is the point?

I am tired of the over commercialization of Christmas. Main Street America was flooded with images of Santa Claus in the 1930’s to help sell Coca-Cola. We all know our favorite television commercial that helps motivate us to buy Hershey Kisses, Budweiser beer, Gap clothing, or McDonald’s hamburgers. Every retailer tries to get an edge on the market by decorating or playing Christmas music earlier each year.

Honestly, I am a self proclaimed scrooge! But not this year!!! I declare this year will be different. Different is definitely were I am going this Christmas.

I am not going to put up a Christmas tree! I am starting a new tradition this year. I am going to find a feed trough to decorate and place my brown packages in before Christmas. You are most likely scratching your head at this moment. You probably think I am nuts. But wasn’t the greatest gift in the world presented in a manger? Didn’t Mary and Joseph place little baby Jesus in a feed trough? I think a feed trough would be a better symbol of what Christmas truly means than an evergreen tree with lights and tinsel on it.

So tomorrow I am going to look for feeding trough to start my new Christmas tradition!

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2 Responses to Traditions and Symbols

  1. april says:

    Ruth Marie, I miss you. Chris and I also decorated for the 1st time this year also. We have stockings and a small Christmas tree. I like your feeding trough idea. We’re reading Ella part of the Good News everyday.

  2. Mary Beth Pearce says:

    very interesting… I like it!(just like you!)We need to start some family traditions… I want Jonas to have something to look forward to every year…MB

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