, Walter and Elizabeth ,
look forward to seeing every year hereafter, these thoughts, actions, and
wishes. These actions are meant to strengthen the family and give our own unique
meaning to Christmas and the holidays surrounding it. Specifically, there are
two traditions we are starting this year: the Ornament Ritual and the New Year
Like most everyone else we too buy a
Christmas tree to decorate our home during the holidays. This tree is brought
into our home; we set it up and begin to decorate. This is the point where out
first tradition starts.
Every year each of the family members shall
bring to our house a Christmas tree ornament of their choosing. This ornament
does not need to follow any theme other than it should represent the personality
of the family member. Additionally, each member shall have prepared a story with
a message to share with the rest of the family. This story can be funny or sad
but should have a moral that can be understood by all. These ornaments represent
the effort we put into our lives and the lives of our family. Once placed on the
tree, we reap the rewards of our effort and receive our gifts from under the
The initial set up and decoration of the
tree shall be accomplished prior to the Ornament Ritual. By that we mean placing
and setting up the tree, stringing whatever lights will be placed on the tree,
and placing any or all ornaments from previous years. At this point the tree is
ready for the new ornaments.
To start the ritual all family members
shall, from within the House Pot, retrieve their medallions and hang their
medallion from their neck. This is the time where we shall think about our
changing lives and how, from within that change, we continue to be one family.
This is the meaning behind the medallions and the House Pot.
One by one, each family member shall then
pick up their new ornament and explain the reason that particular ornament was
chosen and how it ties in with the family. After the explanation the ornament
shall be placed on the tree followed by the family memberís medallion.
Once all members have placed their
ornaments and medallions upon the tree, the story telling shall take place. The
stories can be anything, fiction or fact, but shall have a meaning or tell us of
a lesson learned. These stories shall serve as a way for everyone in the family
to share something of themselves.
After all stories have been told, the
family shall spend a moment thinking about how fortunate we are to have
ourselves as a family. Each person should contemplate their own strengths and
weaknesses and search for a way to complement the personalities of the rest of
A family member is considered to be those
related by blood or marriage. Only family members can participate in the
Ornament Ritual. The immediate family members are those whose medallions were
retrieved from the House Potótheir ornaments and medallions are first placed on
the tree followed by other family members. The order of placement is as follows:
Immediate family, grandparents, spouses, uncles and aunts, and cousins.
Those present that are not family are
invited to share a story.
The beginning of a new year marks the start
of a new cycle for many peoples. It serves to highlight how all life is part of
a cycle. Spring, summer, fall, winter represent natureís cycle. The start of a
new year in January is the start of an arbitrary cycle, but a cycle nonetheless.
Each year, as close to December 31st
as practical, but after Christmas, the family shall set forth on a walk that
lasts a day. For pragmatic reasons this can be accomplished through a day hike.
Each family member shall take provisions that shall be consumed during the walk.
Also, each member shall bring foodstuffs such that half way through the walk the
family shall eat and enjoy each otherís company.
During the half-point break, each member
shall write three goals they would like to reach during the coming year. It is
important that the goals show no ambiguity but are not required to be detailed.
Upon completion of the writing, a hole shall be dug in the earth near a tree and
the written goals shall be placed within the hole. The hole shall then be filled
and all members shall contemplate on their goals.
Once the goals are buried the elders shall
provide stories or talk about the reason for this walk.