52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Week #1 – New Year’s Memories

Week 1: Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!

This challenge runs from Saturday, January 1, 2011 through Friday, January 7, 2011.

We didn’t have a lot of New Year’s traditions when I was growing up.  I do remember watching the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve Celebrations most years and I usually watched the Rose Bowl Parade on TV on New Year’s Day but nothing really special is associated in my memory as New Year’s Traditions in our family.

As I grew older, I would usually make New Year’s resolutions.  These usually included my perpetual desire to become more organized and usually started with me visiting one of my favorite places:  The OFFICE SUPPLY STORE to buy more organizational gadgets!  In fact, this particular resolution is on my list for this year again but I have already gotten my new phone and I have a Remember the Milk account so I am trying that for my organizational plan for this year – Along with a couple of notebooks and other SUPPLIES I have gotten over the past few weeks to help me be ORGANIZED!!

The traditions in my family are changing from year to year as our family grows.  In the last decade, my family has grown to include my brother and sister in-laws and my niece and four nephews.  As they have grown and begin to become more evolved as individual people instead of just a child the traditions are evolving to keep up with them!

This year for the first time, I had a New Year’s Eve Party!  The party was me and my niece and four nephews.  My niece is 14 (almost 15) and my youngest nephew is 4.  We had a great time!  I had them all come over and bought a good supply of junk food (all the chips muffins candy and cake they could eat) and then I got pizza (their favorite kinds) and breadsticks for dinner!  I had some new board games and the WII at the ready and they played games and enjoyed being with each for most of the night!!  As the two middle boys tell it they stayed up all night!  There were only a couple of threats of bodily injury among them and a few fights over turns on the games but overall it was a great evening for me.  I love them and hope that they remember this as the start of a family tradition for them for years to come!    I didn’t last all night but I did make it to midnight with them and got to wish them all a HAPPY NEW YEAR at midnight!  What a great start to the new year!

Advent Calendar: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas has always been a special time of year for me.  I love the old Christmas movies and the way that at least for a day or two you can pretend that all the bad in the world is gone and focus on the good and just be hopeful!

Christmas Eve when I was a very small child was the day that our family finished up the preparations for Christmas Day.  When I was a kid, we would always go to see both my Mom’s and Dad’s families on Christmas Day:  one for lunch and the other for dinner (or sometimes a late lunch depending on the scheduling of the two sides).  So we had a lot of stuff to prepare because the day was full of stuff to do.  On Christmas Eve, Mom would make whatever she was going to take to the family meals the next day and we would usually have cookies and stuff to snack on all day.  As we got older we would “HELP” Mom.  As I look back, she could probably have been done in half the time without our help but she always let us help anyway.  In the evening, we would sit around the TV and watch the Christmas shows on TV (Frosty the snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Peanuts Christmas Special among others).  Usually, one of the standard Christmas movies would be on and we would watch that too (Maybe the Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life.  Then, it would be time to go to bed so Santa could come!

On Christmas morning we would get up and open our presents!  Then, Mom and Dad would fix us some breakfast (usually eggs and biscuits and gravy).  This was a treat for us as both Mom and Dad worked and we often just had cereal for breakfast.  Then we could play with our toys for a while and it would be time to go to the first set of grandparents house. 

Christmas Day at the grandparents (on both sides) was always an extended family event.  My parents siblings and their children would all be there sometimes with the great-grandparents or great-aunts and uncles making an appearance.  There would usually be some more presents and there would be cousins to play with and always great food!  My Grandmother Treat always made chocolate and lemon pies for the holidays!  My Grandpa Thompson would make his Rocky Road Fudge! 

The traditions changed over the years as my grandparents died and life moved on.  But the gatherings at Christmas time have always been a constant in my family.  For a few years it was just me and my sister and brother with our parents and sometimes my Dad’s Mom, but in the last decade the family has expanded.  Now, I have a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law and there are five kids to come to my house (which I share with Mom and Dad) for the presents and the foods and the FAMILY! 

Sometimes as genealogists we spend so much time with our dead relatives that we forget to enjoy the living ones while they are here.  Christmas is my time to remember to take some time and just enjoy the present! 

This year with the health problems of several of the family it reminds me that taking time for family is even more important so I am going to take a few more days from blogging.  I will be back in the new year but I am going to take a few days and enjoy my family!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!