Julie Lyles Carr: Tradition, Tradition

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tradition, Tradition

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Tradition is fine.

But I've noticed that it sometimes seems to come with a lot of effort and then a lot of clean-up.

So there are some things that I'm happy to release. Gravy now typically comes out of a jar at my house, after years of cranking out the homemade kind. Mashed potatoes get re-hydrated. And the dinner rolls come out of a package.

But every now and then, there's something that one of my kids will mark as important, a little something that, yes, there is a more convenient option, but it's a touch that is important to them.

3 of 8 surprised me this year. I had taken a survey of my brother and his wife and of Mike, asking if they minded using some cute Thanksgiving paper plates and napkins. They all voted for ease, no china and crystal necessary to celebrate the big event. I've been trying to make things simpler in my world and this seemed like a win-win to me.

Back to 3 of 8. He wasn't neutral about the paper products Thanksgiving table. At all. He showed up downstairs in a nice shirt. And a tie. A tie. Unbidden.

A tie, people.

And he asked about the Thanksgiving table setting. He heard my paper product response.

He said, "I'll set out the china. I'll take care of it. I'll get the crystal."

And he did. It was important to him, a tradition we've always had, but not one that I thought carried sentimental value.

And yet.

It's inspired me. Inspired me to ask my other kids. What things mean something to them. And which things don't. As I seek to focus on the most important things this holiday season, I want to make sure that I don't continue to put effort into things that don't mean that much to my family. And I want to include those things that do mean something to them. Even when it may not be all that convenient.

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Even when it means pulling out the china and the crystal.

Tradition.

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