Christmas Ale and Christmas traditions

So, I’m not the big beer drinker, Darren is our expert in these matters. But, without his guidance this week in Fresno, I just picked up a 6-pack of Anchor’s “special ale” or “Christmas Ale” which they brew every year, but always with a different recipe. It is delicious, by the way, but got me thinking about our larger Christmas traditions. Do we do them just because they are tradition or because we still really enjoy them? However, digging into the “sense” of nostalgia is a tricky bit. There are definitely some Christmas traditions that I will never grow out of and love to this day, even though they were not practised in my own family, growing up.

The primary example of this, for me, is Christmas crackers. I can’t recall where I first heard of them, but it was definitely after I’d left home. Since then, in the holidays that I have been home, or with Darren’s family, I’ve endeavored to provide crackers for the celebratory dinner. I just love every aspect of it – the communal aspect of “cracking,” the reading aloud of jokes, the wearing of the silly paper crowns – it all speaks to a freeness and carelessness about the holidays which folks seem to wish they could exercise in “real life.”

So, this holiday season, I urge you to discover anew, or revisit, a holiday tradition which you actually like. Something that actually brings you pleasure with the expectation – I am willing to bet that it is something that connects you with your fellow souls. For me, it’s the fun and excitment of actually pulling the cracker, and more importantly, that you’re sharing your holiday with people not afraid to wear a sillly paper crown and laugh at the jokes which came in the cracker. But however your version of holiday joy is represented, I hope that you have the luxury of time to savor those moments.

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