Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making Family a Tradition

Last Saturday we embarked on one of our favorite holiday traditions. Like every favorite custom of mine it included food. A few years ago we began a tradition of meeting my sister, Karley and other family members (typically all women) that are in the area in Salt Lake for lunch or dinner some time in December. Our favorite place to meet is The Garden Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Memorial building. We mostly love this restaurant for the dessert...amazing!!  We are especially fond of their chocolate cinnamon cake and the infamous creme brulee.  Ok, so aside from the fact that we love to eat, we really love most of all getting together and catching up.  Nothing really fantastic or out of the ordinary happens when we meet. It usually isn't the only time we get together throughout the year.  But for some reason knowing that every year around Christmas we will be together again makes this occasion so much fun to look forward to.
So, our waiter really liked us and gave us two loads like this of mints! (Maybe it was the garlic?)

The Hansen group

This year our lunch included Karley and her girls Aimee and Kami, my nieces from Spokane who are living here Kelsey and Emily Hansen and the girls and me. I forget when we aren't together how much I love being with my sis and my nieces.  There's nothing like being with a sibling you grew up with who knows you inside and out.  Just being together for this short time made it feel more like Christmas. No matter how old we get we always treasure and reflect on those few Christmas' that we spent in our childhood home with our brothers and sisters. It is really there that we begin to define Christmas and those are the times that determine just what really makes Christmas come to life for us.  So for an hour or so every year I get to take a glimpse back on those years together and how they are permanently a part of my soul.  I can almost imagine me sitting next to my sis on the family sofa with a stack of gifts (one from every brother and sister) with my too short and outgrown nightie on and my dad holding that awful light that was bright as the sun so he could film another classic Hansen Christmas.  I can see my mother sitting there with her housecoat on and my brothers and sisters gathered around with our gnarly hair.  Mother always made Christmas special for us because she grew up in the Depression with next to nothing for Christmas.  The house was always decorated to the nines and the gifts were purchased with every detail in mind. All of these memories come so easily when I am with Karley and my other siblings around the holidays.
Christmas traditions are important as are our Christmas memories.  The best is when our traditions and our memories are intertwined.  Hopefully what we are doing is helping our own kids appreciate and form their own treasures and someday just as we do they will reflect with fondness and join with love and that is the greatest tradition of all.

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