Isn’t that Christmas tree beautiful?  It’s become a tradition the past few years for four of us girls who grew up together to hit the town in Chicago for a day after Thanksgiving.  This is the tree at the State Street Macy’s!  It’s always one of the first places we go, just because it’s beautiful!

Family traditions that have been passed down through the generations.  I bet we all have them!  It’s the two different kinds of yams at our Thanksgiving table that my sister still makes just like Grandma did.  The ceramic figurines we put out on our end tables that have been around since we were kids.  But some traditions get modified over time.

As a kid, I remember hitting up the Christmas tree farm every year for our pre-cut real tree that we would drag home and then take hours trying to put on the lights.  Now I have a pre-lit artificial tree that takes all of a few minutes to drag to the living room, set up and put the box away!  I think it’s even prettier, because it’s so much less work.  But there’s nothing like having a Christmas tree in the house to make me feel in the mood to start shopping for my loved ones!

I have one very special decoration I’ve been putting out for the last decade or so.  My mom gave it to me, I’m not even sure what year it was.  It’s a set of real sleigh bells that belonged to my great-grandparents who died before I was born!  I put a bow on them and hang them on my front door instead of a wreath.  Simple, meaningful to me.  I think they may be one of my most favorite holiday traditions!

Why are they, or any tradition for that matter, meaningful?  For me, it’s a connection with family members who aren’t with us anymore.  It’s a feeling of having them still with us no matter what.  I’m a sentimental sap, so holiday traditions are something that I just can’t help but enjoy.

My kids are pretty much grown up now.  We don’t make cookies like we used to.  Sure, they would eat them if I made them, but sometimes I just don’t want to.  But there are some things I still love to continue every year, even if the kids think it’s silly.

My newer annual Chicago trip has become one of my favorite things about the holidays.  The main reason is the girls I get to spend the day with.  The four of us (there were more, but we are the ones who still get together) grew up in the same neighborhood.  We did so much together, from Barbies to climbing trees to snow forts…. the memories are endless!  Being with them makes me happy, and I think they agree, we are so glad to still have each other.  In times of happiness and sorrow, we are still friends.

And that is what the holidays are really about!



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