This I Believe

Katrina - Onida, South Dakota
Entered on October 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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I Believe in Family Traditions

Family traditions characterize a family, how the family interacts with one another and how much they enjoy each other’s company. My family has a tradition of celebrating Christmas with both sides of my family. We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my mom’s relatives, and then have a small gathering a few Sundays before or after the holiday with my dad’s parents. Christmas time for my family remains a strong and consistent tradition.

Every year my mom, sister, and I, with an expert eye, load up the van with gifts, food, and luggage to last us a week. We fill the van with three times the amount of its normal capacity, and drive off, heading east to my Grandma Powell’s house in Wessington Springs, SD. We listen to the Christmas songs that my mom starts playing the day after Thanksgiving, and read to pass the time during the two-hour drive. We have done this every year since I can remember, and to me it is comforting to know that I will have that same consistency in years to come.

Christmas Eve we pile into everyone’s cars, no one riding in their original one, unless they drove themselves, and head to the United Methodist Church for candlelight services. My entire family fills up two rows in the vast church. After church we would go back to my grandma’s house and play card games until we can no longer keep our eyes focused on the cards, then head to bed. On Christmas morning, my grandma would wake up before everyone, making breakfast for all of those staying at her house while she put in the ham in the oven for lunch. My sister, cousins, and I open our stockings from “Santa.” Later the family gathers as a whole again to eat lunch, open gifts, and play even more cards.

Everything we do, from the time we leave my house to the time we arrive back at my house, calls out family tradition. Traditions are important to me. They give me the sense of belonging with everyone in my family, and they allow me to get to know all of my relatives better. When I’m out of school and have a job and family of my own, I plan to carry out my family traditions, no matter what people might say about them.

Traditions give a sense of unity, love, respect, and security to me. Family traditions are important in the shaping of who I have become and who I will become. This I believe.