When I was a kid, I was obsessed with traditions. If we did anything more than one year in a row, in my mind, it was cemented as being a tradition, and therefore was unbreakable and unmissable. I couldn't reconcile changes to traditions in my own mind, and my desire for strict rigidity was entirely unsustainable. My mother would have to stop me from rearranging the ornaments on the tree "until it looked like last year", and she calmly handled my meltdown when we moved to Edmonton and no longer had a mantle to hang our stockings on. At Halloween, I would insist on roasting pumpkin seeds before trick-or-treating because there was one time (when I was, perhaps, four) that my mother had done this, and it stuck in my mind.
Not content with just current family traditions, I also spent a lot of time researching the traditions of different cultures around the world to see how other people lived. I collected recipes for holiday meals around the world and failed spectacularly on more than one occasion when I attempted to recreate them. I quizzed my friends on what their families did over the holidays and compared their traditions to our own, just to make sure that we weren't that weird family that did weird things at the holidays--or, worse, that boring family that didn't do anything at all.Read More