Tradition is What Makes an Essay

Katelyn - Maineville, Ohio
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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Tradition is something every family has. These rituals can be made during all times of the year but especially around the holidays. My family has many of these customs. Traditions are made with loved ones and the people spent a significant amount of time with. Not only do I share traditions with my family but my friends and even my boyfriend. These are new rituals practiced when together. These beliefs will always make a good story to be told later on in life. My family and I always have to cut down a real Christmas tree. Something about the scent of pine from the tree brings the festive Christmas spirit into our home. This is a tradition my family and many other families have in common.

What really is a tradition? It can be defined as handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth. Not all traditions have to be passed down from one generation to the next. Every family has the option to make new rituals and pass them down to their children and grandchildren, and many families do this without even noticing. When doing something you may not realize everyone may not say it is a tradition, but it really is. This is something my family has done for countless years. While these customs are in the making, people may not know these ways will continue to be observed in the future. Traditions are meant not to be planned out, more of a family’s way of doing something. This can be done not only with friends but with friends and significant others as well. Practicing things in certain ways may become a tradition by doing it over and over. These rituals may be a religious belief or just a custom one’s family has done for many years.

Every year my family and I plan a time to go to the Big Tree Plantation to cut down a real living Christmas tree. My parents always fight about whether or not to purchase a real or fake tree. This happens every year and my sister, Jen and I always know that it’s coming. My dad always wants to get a fake tree and my mom wants to cut down a real one. Jen and I always agree with my mom. We love how the scent of the tree that flows throughout our house. Without this smell, I don’t think our Christmas would be they same. Each year my dad knows how this debate will turn out however; he still has to try to get his way. Being the only guy in the house he knows that purchasing a fake tree is never going to happen. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to fight that much for a fake tree though.

We drive about thirty minutes to cut down our Christmas tree. The Big Tree Plantation is a giant farm that simply grows Christmas trees and is only open in the winter. Each winter my family takes a hay ride out to a big field to find the perfect tree. We spend at least an hour debating which tree would look and fit the best in our house. Since everyone in the family is so opinionated this always takes a long time because no one can agree on which tree would look better. When the perfect tree is picked out my dad always cuts it down then is taken to get wrapped up in a type of heavy duty plastic wiring and tied on top of our car. When at home, my dad puts it in the tree stand and brings it inside the house.

My mom strings all the lights and Christmas beads on the tree first, and then the whole family decorates the tree with all of our ornaments. Our ornaments have a meaning to them. Everyone in my family has their own ornament with their names and dates on them from a significant time in the past. There are also ones that were given to us as a family. Through the years more and more ornaments are added to the tree. For the past few years we have not been able to put up all the ornaments so we only put up the ones that mean to most to our family. My mom always likes to play her favorite Amy Grant Christmas CD while doing this. Since I am the youngest in the family I always get to put the angel on the tree as the final step. Usually, I am not tall enough even standing on a chair to put her up so my dad takes over. This is just one tradition my family and I have done for as long as I can remember.

Once Christmas morning arrives, my parents wake my sister and I up and go into our living room. When Jen and I were younger we would wake up very early to open presents but now that we are older we sleep in a few hours more. Every year, without saying a word we sit in the same spot as the year before. First, we open our stockings all together and then, Jen and I distribute the gifts. We all take turns opening up presents and only one person goes at a time. We attempt to make this take as long as we can. We throw all the wrapping in the middle of the floor waiting until the end to clean it up. My two dogs, Hershey and Carson also get to open presents as well. They are very smart and know to dig their nose into the gift bags to find whatever is in the bottom. I cherish these moments I have with me family, and I am so thankful all these times I have with my family. Traditions should be important to every family. Families should strive to make new rituals in their own households.