Almost a year ago, I wrote about traditions. I told you I like them. It makes me feel connected to the past. And I do honour traditions. This past Christmas, my mom told my brother and I that she didn’t need a stocking because we wouldn’t be together on Christmas morning. Independently, both Todd and I made sure she got a stocking – she got two. For part of Christmas lunch, we had mimosas and a pear apple (or an Asian pear) because we like them and because, well, it’s tradition.
Each Christmas, my parents sent out a Christmas letter – like many did – to friends and family to update them on the year’s happenings. Somewhere along the line, my Dad started writing a poem as the Christmas update – I think he started in 1967? And so each year, he would create a poem about events in rhyming couplets. At some point, I decided to become the Christmas poet and take up my dad’s quill. And for many years since – perhaps even 20 now – I have sent the family Christmas letter in poem.
E-mail and texting is changing the tradition of Christmas card – we receive very few in the mail any more. And I feel. .felt? . . that I was defending the erosion of this tradition. Cards are tactile objects for keeping, for rereading. Emile and I created our own traditions – eliminate the card, instead make a postcard from one of his pictures. It was ours, and I felt good about producing our Christmas package each year – it brought me pleasure to write and send.
And yet, this year I could not get into the mood. I could not seem to bring my pencil to paper to create our poem, but somehow managed to squeeze out 3 stanzas. But I needed to give myself a break. Surely right after Christmas I’d find the spirit to complete my card and get it out before New Year’s.
But then I was robbed. And in that backpack? My 3 longhand stanzas on my favorite (recycled from a computer motherboard) clipboard.
It’s taken me a while to get over that theft – and I still am smarting from it. I am pissed off, but continue to hope that perhaps something good will come from this. A lesson, a gift. And perhaps it is this: the realization that I don’t want to rewrite those 3 stanzas or any other stanzas this year.
Part of me mourns the end (or the gap?) in the tradition. Change is good, change is disconcerting. But this year there will be no Christmas or New Year’s letter heading your way from us. I hope you miss it a bit (like I do).
This year is just beginning, so perhaps we’ll begin a new tradition, or send greetings another way. I don’t know, but making this decision eases the furrow on my brow.
January 4th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Taking my own advice from a year ago: “Sometimes, you just need to move along people.” Traditions end. New things begin.
The sentiment remains. To all our friends and family: Happy Holidays via this untraditional medium. We spent our holiday season with those who are most important to us and hope you shared precious moments with those you care about.