OPINION: Traditions

Adriona Murphy

Adriona Murphy

It’s officially that time of year. Crackling fireplaces, cinnamon sticks, warm sugar scented candles, sales, spending more money than you have and spending so much time with family that you don’t remember what life was like without hearing your grandaunt’s god awful laugh all day long.

Ladies and gentlemen: it’s holiday season.

After Thanksgiving dinner, I started thinking about all the seemingly weird stuff my family does every year. After we eat (at a time way too early to be called dinner), my grandma always has us play the left-right game.

Now, if you’ve never played it before, it’s pretty simple. Someone reads a story and every time someone says “right,” you move the gift to the right, if someone says “left,” you move to the left.

Every year, my grandma spends weeks making up a story about the grandkids and what they’ve been up to since the last Thanksgiving. The gift was the same every year: an ornament that had something to do with what we had done that year (When I was 16, it was a car key and when my cousins joined a fraternity, they got one with their letters).

We all laughed and complained about having to play the game, so this year we didn’t. Things felt off.

Instead, she handed us our little gifts without the game. We all got socks.

It didn’t really feel like a holiday meal with the family even though we stuffed our faces and talked about what we were thankful for. The same thing happened a few years ago when my family opted to get a fake tree instead of a real one. We didn’t go out to the Christmas tree farm, pick our favorite tree, put it up in the living room to let all the branches drop a little, before decorating it and enjoying the very slight pine scent it gave off.

That year, Christmas felt fake, like we didn’t go through all the motions so it wasn’t as special.

Traditions are what make the holiday season, the holiday season. Even if you think the tradition is stupid and doesn’t make any sense, going without it changes the entire dynamic of it. For me, the most special part of the holiday season is the routine of it. Every year you do the same kind of things, and although it might seem boring, it’s just what you do.

When you think of the holidays, you think of the same activities, scents, foods, movies and whatever else. Those are all little traditions, whether you recognize it or not. Maybe I’m just overly sentimental, but whenever those things change, it changes things for me.

Like my sophomore year of college, my mom and grandma decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me because I was going to be home so late in the month and they wanted to get it over with. The entire time I was home, I felt like there was something missing, and I realized it was because I didn’t get to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and decorate with them.

As we grow up, these things will start to change. We’ll move away, have our own families and maybe not be able to do things like we used to do. So, even if your grandma makes you play the stupid left-right game, don’t complain about it. Play it. It’ll feel weird when it’s gone.

Adriona Murphy is the opinion editor. Contact her at [email protected].