As the holidays are quickly approaching, we all have traditions and memories that are unique to our families and our cultures. It can be a specific family occasion that has stood the test of time, or it can be a single moment that has defined your culture. So, what’s yours? We asked our MBU Timeline bloggers that question.
By DAVE LONG
Every Christmas morning my mom, dad, sister and I wake around 9 a.m. and head to the living room.
We all get a cup of coffee and you can bet that there are cinnamon rolls in the oven.
After the exchanging and opening of presents, it’s movie time.
We lock the front door, get into our pajamas, and watch movies until it is time to go to bed.
Last Christmas we watched six movies and snacked on food all day.
It may not be the traditional Christmas day with the nice dinner and all, but it is what the Longs do.
I look forward to it every year.
By REBEKAH RUTLEDGE
One of my favorite things that my family does around the holiday season is our Christmas tree night.
With three kids and a ton of sports practices, finding a moment where my whole family can be together is difficult, but somehow we always found time for this night.
Usually, the evening began with a trip to the grocery store and the purchase of a variety of baking supplies and eggnog.
Upon arrival at home, Christmas music is turned on throughout the house and then it’s time to start unpacking the Christmas supplies from the basement and let me tell you, we have plenty of them.
After everything is unpacked, dad sits on the floor with the fake tree box, mom starts “fluffing” the tree branches and my siblings and I begin attaching the branches to the “tree trunk.”
The lights go up on the tree and then it is time for ornaments, which really means pulling the ornaments out of the box and reminiscing about the year it was given to us and then putting it on the tree only for it to be knocked off the tree by the dog.
After many hours of “tree” building, our Christmas tree is finally finished, the eggnog is empty, mom has decided to put the cookie baking off until later on in the week, the dog has eaten at least one of the ornaments, and dad is irritated with the amount of tinsel that is strewn on the floor.
It may not be traditional Christmas family time, but it’s our tradition and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
By MOLLY CARVER
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday of the year.
The excitement of the tidings and decor. The smell of candy canes and gingerbread is what made it so wonderful.
The most special part of my childhood was believing in Santa Claus.
I was insistent in the belief of the North pole and Santa’s magical elves.
I went for years in the belief that Santa was a real man and could offer real things to me.
I argued with everyone that my parents couldn’t possibly afford the presents that were under my tree every year.
One cold winter my mom struck up the most disappointing conversation; Santa, indeed was not real.
For years after, I felt as if Christmas was ruined and had no meaning.
Christmas has meaning and it always has and always will, Christ.
By ELIZABETH HARRIS
Growing up on a farm, the fall and winter seasons were always special.
As the leaves began to fall and the air began to cool, that meant stocking the woodpile and hot apple cider.
In the winter, my house was heated with a wood stove that lived in the basement. Stepping into our home the scent of lingering smoke permeated the air in the best possible way.
Although I loved the scent that winter brings, my favorite part was feeding the cows with my dad.
As the grass began to die off, we had to bring hay to the cows so that they could survive.
I can remember sitting in the cab of my dad’s muddy blue tractor, laughing and enjoying each other’s company as we drove along the bumpy field.
To this day, those are still some of my favorite memories.
By COLBY DUNCAN
When I think of Christmas and winter break, in my mind it’s like heaven. While I’m in St. Louis, the main thing I dream about is the culture back home.
Yes it’s Christmas, New Year’s and a winter break, but I do anything but take a break when I’m home.
Home to the mountains, the snow, friends and family, I will be going 24 hours, seven days a week, for three weeks when I am back home.
While I’m home I get in touch with the mountains. I will work every day at one to two ski resorts and every day I don’t work, I am snowboarding.
Snowboarding for me is the best sense of relief I have ever had, even more than baseball, and baseball is the reason I am in St. Louis.
Playing, working and riding in the snow is unlike anything I have ever done before. I love it.
My family always gets upset with me because I usually miss parts of Christmas, New Year’s or family dinners to be working and riding in the snow.
By RYAN RERICH
Every year for Thanksgiving we have a huge family get together.
The day begins when we have the Trote de Guajolote (Turkey Trot), a 5k around my small town of Weimar, Texas, where my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and myself, all do our best to make it to the 3.1-mile trek.
After we finish the run, we will enjoy some snacks, including frozen pickle pops, which no one has heard of from the St. Louis area.
The day is nowhere close to being over, and after we consume all of the snacks, we pick teams for our annual football game.
The intensity is high, and no one in the family wants to lose. After we have selected our teams, the ball is snapped and the game is under way.
After the physical activity has occurred for the day and the champions have been crowned, we sit around in the living room and watch Thanksgiving Day NFL football, and more importantly our Dallas Cowboys.
Throughout the evening we eat a ton of food, including ham, turkey, sausage, mac ‘n’ cheese, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, green beans and a bunch of other calorie-infested foods.
It always turns out to be a great day filled with excitement and family fun, and the traditions will continue for many years down the road.
By CHELSEA GAMMON
One of my favorite holiday traditions is Christmas brunch.
When I was very little my mom decided to make brunch on Christmas day.
She is a master of brunch food — ham, egg casserole, cinnamon minis, strawberry bread, punch.
She even uses these special Christmas glasses with Christmas trees painted in beautiful white glaze.
My grandma would cook Christmas dinner and we would go over to her house, but I always looked forward to waking up on Christmas morning to my mom’s delicious brunch.
By CASSIE NESBIT
Thanksgiving: that’s something to be grateful for.
Each year, my family and I drive two hours south to DuQuoin, Ill., where Grandma and Grandpa live.
Instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner, Grandma uses the terms breakfast, dinner and supper.
Dinner starts around 2:30 p.m., and everyone has Grandma’s famous chicken and dumplings piled high on each plate.
After eating early in the day, Yahtzee, a board game, always sat near the edge of the table for afterward.
Once the game started, you better count your dice fast or Grandma does it for you.
By CHELSIE BARTLEY
Thanksgiving celebrations in my family have been the same since before I can remember. We’re not much for change and, honestly, I wouldn’t change it anyway.
Every year, my small family comes together on Thanksgiving day at my grandparents’ on my mom’s side.
As soon as you walk in, your senses are overwhelmed by the wonderful and mouthwatering aroma of my grandma’s cooking. All the women are in the kitchen chatting and catching up with my cousin, my sister and I, as we are the only three grandchildren on that side.
The men are lounging in the sunroom, trying to communicate through yelling over the blaring volume on the TV. My grandpa, who is partially deaf, is blissfully unaware of anything else happening as he naps in front of his Westerns.
When the food is ready, the table is so full of turkey and various other side dishes that we barely have room for our plates. My grandpa, the head of the household, will say the blessing and then we dig in.
About 30 minutes after we start, we’re all done eating and ready to clean up.
All the men return to the sunroom and the women return to the kitchen to wash dishes and put the leftovers away.
After an afternoon of naps and sharing stories, my grandma (at 4:30 p.m.) will start to take the food back out and the rest of us miserably eat the leftovers for supper.
Some people might think that my family get-togethers sound uneventful and a little boring, but to me, it’s more about the little things that happen every year.
Hearing my grandpa snoring over his Westerns at 100 percent volume, my grandma’s uncontrollable cackle when my dad broke his glasses at the dinner table one year and the boisterous conversations that happen when my family is all together, these are the things that make the Holidays memorable.