After the stores stash away Halloween decorations, and they ignore Thanksgiving, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” announces with gusto the commencement of the Christmas season. What follows this seasonal shift is cold weather, chunky sweaters, Christmas carols and movies galore. The festivities of the season remind each person of the familial traditions that mark the holidays.
When the weather turned cold enough, my family and I would fill up the car with a mountain of blankets and warm mugs of hot chocolate and leave our home on a mission: to find the best Christmas lights in the city. After hunting through the neighborhoods and crooning to Bing Crosby, we would return to our cozy living room and watch Jimmy Stewart realize, through the help of Clarence, that his life mattered and had immense effects on others. I went to “The Nutcracker” ballet every year as a much anticipated event of the holiday season. Christmas magic comes to life through the pirouetting figures of Clara, the Dew Drop Fairy, and the Sugarplum Fairy.
These are just a few Christmas memories from my own childhood. Each family celebrates in unique and individual ways. What is amazing about traditions is the lasting effect of them. Just as Jimmy Stewart does not realize his impact on others, I did not realize the impact of my own family’s traditions until I hear the music from the ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Not only do I know every piece of Tchaikovsky’s stupendous work, but I also have the sweet memories of eating together as a family after the show reminiscing over the past two hours all five of us spent in fantasy land.
Traditions maintain their value in the continual effects that they have on the one experiencing them. The act of remembrance and reminiscence on these traditions draws my family even closer together as a unit. I encourage all people to create their own holiday traditions whether that be hunting for Christmas lights, eating sweets until sickness kicks in, watching “The Nutcracker” ballet, or decorating gingerbread houses. As you decorate a gingerbread house with “The Nutcracker” music waltzing in the background and the smell of sugar floats heavy in the air, take the time to ponder these traditions and moments deeply and store them in your hearts for the cold and dark times that will come.
For those in search of a way to create memories and give back this holiday season, local Birmingham business, Forever Gingerbread, helps accomplish both with their focus on family tradition. The company sells wooden, reusable gingerbread houses, perfect for festive fellowship with the family. The proceeds go to a deaf, vocational school in Mexico. Not only does the purchase of a Forever Gingerbread house benefit the creators, but these little houses also unite a family around a Christmas tradition made easier.
So, turn up the music to the Sugar Plum Fairy, munch on some sweets, and decorate a Forever Gingerbread house this Christmas to create a lasting memory.
Julianne Jorgensen, Features Writer
[photo courtesy of Julianne Jorgensen]
Forever Gingerbread volunteers, left to right: Abigail Brock, Taylor Glow, Julianne Jorgensen, Kinley Hales and Sarah Duckworth