12 December 2013

How Does a Shepherds Crook Become a Candy Cane?

Because the Christmas/Holiday/Winter season is upon us, I've been thinking about traditions.

When I was a kid, we got to get up on Christmas morning and open the gifts in and near our stockings. Santa gifts. Each kid's presents were color coordinated. It was the same every year, and we loved it.

What we didn't love was then having breakfast BEFORE we got to open the presents under the tree.

Seriously, my dad would make breakfast-hot, delicious, wonderful breakfast. And believe me, he would take his own sweet time about it.  Pancakes? Yes. Bacon? Yes. Cold cereal? Don't be ridiculous. Eggs? Yes. He did it to torture us. He's really a pretty great guy, but this is one of the times he thought he was SOOooo funny.

And now it's payback time. Ever since I got into my teenage years, and the other sisters had moved out, we have forced my dad to make breakfast for us on Christmas morning. Hot, delicious, wonderful breakfast.  

Hey, there are three women involved in this plan. Of course it's mean. Duh.

Now that he's getting older, we've all started to help him out. We're not that terrible.

As an author, I've been wondering about traditions. I mean seriously, how did a shepherd's crook get twisted into a candy cane? How did caroling door to door come from angelic hosts of heaven announcing the birth of the Savior? What did the progression involve?

Let's take our breakfast tradition.  If generations passed, and a great-great-something grand kid of one of us asked their mom why we made the oldest man in the house make turkey bacon before we could unwrap presents on Thanksgiving, what would she tell them? (Yes, I put Thanksgiving in there on purpose. This is like the telephone tree games you maybe played as a kid. The message starts out, "The flowers are pink" and ends up, "The woman's face is on fire.")

Take one of your traditions. How could it "grow up" into something...sinister? funny? twisted? world-wide?

It's these kinds of details that can make a book or a story feel so much deeper. More real.

I'm serious, leave a comment on how one of your (maybe) completely innocent family traditions could evolve into something much more interesting. It'll be your fun for the day.

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