Friday, February 2, 2018


I love the idea of traditions, though I have complicated feelings about them. I am one who detests change. Truly. I dislike change so much that when we took out our disgusting white plastic countertops that were stained and broken and completely embarrassing and replaced them with beautiful solid wood butcher block countertops, I had an evening of regret. I felt sadness that I'd replaced the most awful countertops in the history of kitchens with what was, no joke, my dream countertops.

So, on paper, you might think that I would obviously LOVE traditions and view them as being very important and keep up with them year after year. You might imagine that when we partake in annual activities, we do the same festive things, eat the same festive foods, sing the same festive songs EVERY SINGLE YEAR. But you would be wrong, because there's a catch!

I don't actually have my life together at all. And so, even though I place great value on the idea of keeping traditions, a lot of times when the celebration time comes, I haven't gone to the grocery store, or I forgot what month it was, or I somehow lost all the key accessories to our tradition. Take, for example, some of our Christmas traditions. One is the feast of St. Lucy, for which "somebody" (always Anja) dresses up like St. Lucy and wakes everybody up at daybreak for breakfast.  The breakfast is supposed to be these really beautiful Santa Lucia rolls that have these lovely swirls and are beautiful, buuuuuuuut, our rolls looked a little bit different.

Our rolls came individually wrapped in plastic from the Fresh Thyme grocery store and they weren't even rolls! They were these chocolate croissants that I can never decide if they are yummy or gross! We unwrapped them, stuck some greenery on a cutting board, and TA-DA! Tradition! Another mishap with that tradition every single year is the costume. We used to have this white angel dress and long piece of red silk. Then one of the cats peed on the dress after the first year and the silk made it a little longer but eventually just kind of disintegrated into nothing. We still have it, but it looks more like a hankie now. So the night before the sunrise breakfast, I'm in the craft closet trying to find something red that will fit around Anja's waist. Thankfully I found this bit of reddish linen from a skirt project and the chamises from their costumes for our yearly historic festival we attend in the fall.  But then the whole headwreath thing was another--I didn't have any idea where the one from last year was (I made it out of floral wire and fake greenery) so I took this--literally the centerpiece from the coffee table--wedged some little candles in, snipped off some boxwood branches from outside the front door, and, TA-DA!! Tradition!

And while we're on the subject of Advent traditions......... I've pretty much given up on ever beginning lent with purple and pink candles. It's only happened one year when my sister-in-law sent us some.

So we use plain candles and red and pink ribbon instead.

Let's see, what's another tradition that I totally botch every year? Oh! I know! Waldorf window stars! You might think, if you know me, that waldorf window stars would OBVIOUSLY be something I do with my kids every year, probably I have stacks and stacks of kite paper and all the good Waldorfy books about how to fold these cool stars. Well, you would be wrong again. I've been parenting with Waldorf undertones for ten years and this was the FIRST year we made window stars! And you know what else? I didn't even know what kite paper was! But I ordered some from Amazon, and I am pleased to say I really think this WILL become tradition because I love them and they were loads easier to make than I thought they'd be.

The tradition that made me begin this post though is one of my favorites. Today is Candlemas (or yesterday was, since it's past midnight as I write this) and evidently in France, people traditionally eat crepes on this day. I didn't know that before today, but I do love crepes! We don't make them a lot because they're so labor intensive I save them for special occasions, but we probably make them four times a year. But this is my favorite tradition because of my treasured recipe:
I have only ever used the crepe recipe from Strawberry Shortcake's World of Friends storybook. It's a very long, very boring book, but when Anja and Greta were toddlers they LOVED IT, and it's what made us start making them in the first place, and so now every time we have a craving for crepes, our fate hinges on whether or not we can locate the Strawberry Shortcake book. Now this is a real tradition.

I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes traditions can be less than picturesque, or sometimes the picturesque traditions (like my window stars) aren't really traditions at all. They're just fun things we did on a Sunday afternoon before a party.

We do have one other winter tradition, which is going ice skating. It's always fun and it's always exhausting, but this year there was a little twist on the old tradition because I brought my elephant along!
Here's to all traditions, beautiful, junky, or pachydermic