So many traditions surround this time of year. The gathering for Thanksgiving and who brings what food item to the table each year. The early morning scramble to get out of the house before the crack of dawn on Black Friday. The watching of football, the hauling of boxes filled with holiday decorations from the attic, the challenges of figuring out which weekend everyone is free to bake cookies and send cards . . .the list just goes on and on.
My college friends and I have a tradition at this time of year as well. It started when we were still in college. We would gather at someone’s home for dinner and a secret gift exchange. After graduation, we managed to join together at someone’s apartment and a few years we met at a restaurant central to where we were all living. Over the years our group has dwindled a bit, for various reasons, mostly distance has just made it too hard or expensive for everyone to gather in one place. But those of us who live close to each other hold this tradition sacred and we will be gathering next weekend for our annual holiday meal.
We have missed a few years with this tradition because with growing families or sick family members or other such challenges, it just wasn’t possible for us to find the time together. And it left a big hole in my heart those years.
Traditions keep you grounded and give you something to look forward to. They build wonderful memories with those you love most. They become the heart and soul of whatever group with whom you have that specific tradition.
Today, as I anticipate the gathering of some of my college friends next weekend, I find myself grateful for our tradition. We will most definitely miss those who can’t be with us, but they too are a big part of our tradition and therefore part of our hearts and souls. This tradition of ours will always hold us together and for that I am most grateful.