While the holidays are about family and tradition, it’s also about recycling. In fact, it’s the time of year when we recycle the most. You may also call it traditions, but really we are recycling our past each year. My mother has been putting the same ornaments on the same Christmas tree for years. She still has decorations my sister and I made her 45 years ago. I still get the same gift tag from “Santa” that has been on one of my presents every year since I can remember.
When we were kids, all the large pieces of wrapping paper were folded up to be used again the next year along with tissue paper, bows and now gift bags. If it could be reused, we kept it. Gift tags were made out of the Christmas cards we received the year before, holiday jars were filled with new candy, we even took the tinsel off the tree strand by strand to wrap it through a toilet paper roll to be used again the following year. Thankfully, tinsel has gone out of style as that was a painstaking procedure.
Christmas seems to be the one event where we haul down the boxes from the attic, basement or the garage and go through each one carefully to either place ornaments on the tree, make a village of the “Old Time Christmas” ceramics, or put up decorations around the house. My mom still fills up the same stockings my sister and I had as children.
Lights may be the one thing that gets replaced often, but the rest of the decorations are like time capsules, bringing back memories with each one that is taken out of the storage box.
For me, it takes forever to decorate the tree. Most of my ornaments were purchased on vacation as a memento of the trip. As I place each one on the tree, it brings back the wonderful memories of the journeys I have taken.
We also go to Christmas Eve service every year, then drive around various neighborhoods looking at all the outdoor lights and decorations, then we wait until Christmas day to open presents. The relatives come over Christmas day for dinner, which usually includes a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and the usual “must-have” courses. Traditions we continue to adhere to.
Having family traditions and recycling them year after year is what makes the holidays such a wonderful time. Of course things change during the course of our lives, and so must the traditions. I still send out my annual Christmas card with a yearly letter, but they go to fewer people. Emails and texts seem to be the preferred way to wish family and friends a Merry Christmas.
I guess I’m still old fashioned and find such joy in reading a Christmas card and putting it up on display for the season. Maybe it will be lucky enough to become a gift tag for next year!
Nancy Peltonen serves as President/CEO with The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on committees for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Palm Bay Maker Faire Committee, and State Small Business Expo Partner, and still finds time to volunteer with many local organizations and travel the world. Nancy’s accolades include 2017 Community Excellence Award, 2016 Business Acceleration Summit Heart of the Community Award, 2013 Woman of Excellence, 2011 & 2014 Woman of the Year for the American Business Women’s Association Space Coast Express Network.