Traditions Yours and Mine

Traditions — Yours and Mine #flashfiction

Traditions — Yours and Mine

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes family traditions. It can be related to any holiday or situation. How does the tradition impact the story or change the character? Go where the prompt leads!

This is a wonderful opportunity to help everyone get to know a little more about each other, or it would be if we were sharing actual, as opposed to fictional, traditions, which some might of course.

I think learning about each other’s traditions is a valuable way to get to know each other, to expand our knowledge of the world’s people and develop understanding and empathy. It was for this reason that I created several resources for the readilearn collection that help children get to know each other.

One of the main resources for this purposes is a unit of work called Family Traditions and Celebrations. It includes worksheets and surveys to help children learn about the traditions of their own family as well as of other families.

When I was implementing this unit in my classroom, I was surprised that third and fourth generation Aussies thought they didn’t have any traditions to write about, that theirs were nothing out of the ordinary. That changed when I explained that every family has its own traditions and its own way of interpreting the traditions of the wider community. Sometimes, those traditions are secret.

I recently watched a video in which Australia’s popular Coronavirus medical spokesperson explained his family’s secret tradition of Christmas celebrations when growing up Jewish in Scotland. It’s an interesting story, particularly when his family discovered they weren’t the only ones with a secret.  

Sadly, I can’t find a way of sharing the video here, but it can be viewed on Facebook.

And if you’d like to know a little more about the man, you may enjoy this interview.

Some traditions may be passed down through generations. Other traditions may change, be abandoned or introduced as families change, combine and grow.

When my children were growing up, we had a quiet Christmas day at home with only us. We would just hang out together (I can’t say ‘chill’ when we sweltered on most Christmas Days), eating and playing board games. We would visit with family and friends on other days, but not on Christmas Day.

This tradition continued when they grew into adulthood and even when they brought partners to share our day. The tradition was interrupted when the grandchildren arrived, and they required a different sort of attention and were too young to play the games. They are now old enough to play so the tradition is re-established.

However, our celebration has now changed from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve (for this year anyway) to accommodate the needs of other families (in-laws) and the grandchildren have decided we need a new tradition.

Last Christmas Eve we celebrated here with both our children, their partners and our two grandchildren. We had a Christmas lunch and an afternoon of playing board games and having fun in the pool. After tea (the evening meal), we opened our gifts. And then the fun began — a wrapping paper fight. Perhaps I should say here that the fight was initiated by Hub, perhaps the biggest child of them all. Everyone scrunched up balls of wrapping paper and threw them at each other. The children thought it was amazing fun and they want to do it again this year. And why not? It won’t elicit the same feelings as the lovely tradition shown in the following video, but it’s a great indication of our family that loves to have fun together.

I think the only one who wasn’t so keen on the activity was the housekeeper who was still finding balls of wrapping paper behind and under furniture six months later. Perhaps she should have done a better job earlier on! 😊

Thanks to Jim Borden for alerting me to this wonderful video.

So, now it’s time to share my response to Charli’s prompt. I hope you enjoy it.

Out with the Old. In with the New.

Lizzie pressed her lips together and shook her head.

“Come on,” said Mum. “Just a little bit.”

“No!”

“Try it. You’ll like it.”

“I won’t.”

“You can’t have dessert, until you eat your veg.”

“Dessert first. Then veg.”

“We don’t do it that way, Lizzie. Veg first, then dessert.”

“No! Dessert first!”

“If you have dessert first, you won’t eat your veg.”

“Will so.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

Lizzie ate her dessert. Then she ate her veg. A promise is a promise.

Now, when Lizzie’s children’s friends ask why they always eat dessert first, they shrug. “Dunno. Always have,” they say.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

56 thoughts on “Traditions — Yours and Mine #flashfiction

  1. Kate

    You offered us so much joy in your post and your short story. I remember the time I took my son to his favorite diner for lunch. It was a treat because his Dad was having a ski day with the other boys. Anyway the look on his face was priceless when I told him he could just order dessert for lunch. He did.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Kate

        My son was 8 at the time and yes, I asked him that very question about a year ago when he was out visiting us and he still remembers that day. He could even tell me that he’d ordered a big bowl of peppermint ice cream that came with waffle slices. It had been a good day for both us. Thank you for inspiring happy memories. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          I’m so pleased to hear that he remembered the occasion, Kate, and that it brings back special memories for both of you. What could have been a sad day for him (missing out) became a memory to treasure.

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  2. Jennie

    What a delightful post, Norah! I love reading about your family traditions, especially the wrapping paper fight. I also shared that video, my absolute favorite! Merry Christmas to you, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, Jennie. I saw the video on your blog too – after I’d written this post. I knew you’d love it as well. Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas and much better things in 2021.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Family Traditions « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  4. Pingback: Christmas Special #A traditional Christmas Menu… | Retired? No one told me!

  5. Patricia Tilton

    What a fun story! I’d go for vegies first, so I could savor the thought of still having desert to eat at the end. And, I love the video — made me smile BIG TIME! I like your tradition of staying home on Christmas day because kids want to play with their new toys. We won’t be celebrating any holidays with family this year — COVID is out of control here.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so sorry you won’t be able to see your family this Christmas, Patricia. I’m sure it is difficult for you. However, it is important to stay safe and well so that you have many other opportunities to be together in the future.

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  6. Hugh W. Roberts

    If given a choice, I’d always eat dessert first. Love the idea of the wrapping paper fight. Finding the balls of wrapping paper months after reminds me a little of finding pine needles embedded in the carpet from the Christmas tree.
    Unfortunately, many Christmas traditions won’t be allowed this year, Norah. However, it’s the perfect signal for us all to create some new ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Pine needles are harder to see than balls of wrapping paper, Hugh, and probably dig into the carpet. I think you (or whoever) has a reasonable excuse.
      I’ve heard things are not looking too good in the UK, Hugh. Stay well and enjoy your new traditions.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. Susan Scott

    I would love to start every meal with desert! Loved your flash fiction Norah, and the video! We’ve always been together as a family on Christmas Day even though our younger son lives elsewhere, and thankfully as from yesterday it was confirmed that he and his wife will join us. Presents in the morning after church (I wonder if there will be a service; Covid peaking again) and later on in the day a spread of cold deliciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased your whole family can be together on Christmas Day, Susan. Such joy! I hope you can enjoy it just as you wish without any distractions. Stay well! Happy days!

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      Reply
  8. Charli Mills

    I enjoyed both the videos you shared, Norah! I cried at the sweet tenderness of the dad and son relationship and pondered what it must be like to have a secret tradition. I like your playful new tradition! Your Christmas Days past sound like ours when it was me, the Hub and three kids. Great flash!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the videos, Charli. I especially love the father and son relationship – it’s so relatable. I think there must be many times and places where people must keep their traditions and beliefs secret for fear of persecution. Sadly for some, there is no way to hide a difference that draws discrimination. It’s the discrimination that is at fault, not the difference.
      Here’s to games at holiday time! Wouldn’t it be great to get both our families together to play. If only we could go back in time, but still have the internet so we could get to know each other when our children are young. 🙂

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  9. CarolCooks2

    This is the second time this week I have across that video it is so lovely, Norah as for dessert first …Happy to adopt that tradition…I love that many families hand down traditions or change them it is all part and parcel of Christmas fun and paper crumpling and throwing including my/our wedding certificate seems to run in our family…lol

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      It’s a good one, isn’t it? I love it too. We don’t get it over here – or maybe I just don’t watch enough TV to see it – so I appreciate seeing it on Jim’s blog, and Jennie’s too.

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  10. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    I love that Lizzie stuck with her methods and passed it down to her own children. Traditions are great and it’s also okay to bend or break them if warranted. As an adult I have no hard fast holiday traditions, I always just go where the prompt leads, which is often to just stay out of the way. I do hope you and yours have a good holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  11. Darlene

    I love your story! That last year of my dear father´s life was spent in a care home. They would bring him his meal and he would always eat the dessert first. Always a rule follower, he figured at this stage of the game, what did it matter. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  12. calmkate

    lol I thought it was going to be about pavs 😦

    Love the idea of wrapping paper fights, the aussie version of snow balls! That clip is super cute, I’ll play that again 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  13. Annika Perry

    Norah, lovely reflections on traditions and we have some firm family favourites. Christmas Eve is when we celebrate with all the family, as is the norm in Sweden and one that will be carried on I feel through the children! Also, Lucia is a magical time of light and always celebrated!

    A lovely short fiction here which has me smiling! Makes perfect sense to me, dessert before vegetables!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I am happy to celebrate with my family on Christmas Eve, though Christmas Day is traditionally ‘the’ day here.
      I know nothing about Lucia and would love to know more if you have time to share.
      Why not dessert before veggies? Who made these rules anyway? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Anne. The fight is fun.
      I did read somewhere years ago, though I haven’t seen the research to back it up, perhaps it was wishful thinking on the author’s part, that eating dessert first is helpful in losing weight as it makes you feel fuller faster and you eat less. I think that blows my theory of having an extra special pocket for dessert, as it seems there’s usually room for dessert when I couldn’t eat another thing. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  14. petespringerauthor

    Traditions are an important aspect of any culture and any family. I’m glad to see that our son is wired this way and will keep some of our traditions alive.

    Nice work on the prompt, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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