One of the results of never truly leaving the nest (both sets of parents still live in the Bay Area) is that their traditions become your own. If we had left the Bay Area (at one point we were seriously looking to relocate), then I think we might have established our own traditions, instead of the easy route of purloining those of our parents.
Example, being a December baby, we always got our Christmas tree on my birthday. It's a tradition we continue with today, even though it tends to be inconvenient when my birthday falls during the week. And my husband's parents always made pizzelles during the holidays. My husband and I just finished making our pizzelles this morning. We are up to three batches of seven cups of flour and six eggs each, and no matter what, it always takes about forty cookies before the irons are anywhere near hot enough and seasoned enough. We tend to eat the "duds" and now I have pizzelle cookie bloat, but all for a good cause.
I think of this because this year kid one isn't going to be home to help pick out the tree. Odious classes are keeping her at University until after my birthday, so the tree will be decorated without her. We will put aside her favorite ornaments so that she can put them on the tree herself, but its still sad. And I guess this is what aging is all about. The adopting of traditions, the shedding of traditions as our situations change. My parents now have a fake tree. It's too much for them to pay for and haul a real tree up their front steps. But I don't think this tree is any less beloved despite its distinct lack of any scent. Because despite the plastic and lights, it still signals the return of children, grandchildren, love, hope, and all that good stuff that has always made Christmas my favorite holiday.
Now, if only I could get out my cards and, oi, buy some presents!