The Ham Family Christmas Tradition


A number of years ago, our family started a Christmas tradition. Around the 22nd or 23rd of December, we’d load up Paw-Paw’s Yukon as if it were Santa’s sleigh, don Santa caps and reindeer antlers, and we’d bombard friends with carols and Christmas Vacation quotes.

By the end of the night, we’d be reduced to an off-key version of “Mele Kelikimaka” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

After a few years, friends and family began expecting our craziness.

Two staples in our misfit choir were my Aunt Trish and my then eighty-year old grandmother, Eloise.

When my Aunt Trish passed away in 2007, it changed our caroling routine. Although we tried to continue, it just wasn’t the same. Then, when my grandmother began her battle with cancer, we couldn’t stand the thought of caroling without her.

Somewhere around 2008, our caroling stopped.

A Tradition Reborn

This year, I’ve felt the need for a resurgence of our tradition. Seeing how our boys love music so much, I believe that it’s time for the tradition to begin again. Earlier this week, we had caroling and hot chocolate in our neighborhood park. I was asked to play the guitar and sing with another neighbor.

As I stood around the fire pit, singing familiar carols, my oldest son, MJ, brought his toy drum over and began tapping in rhythm along with me.

The innocence of a child that doesn’t understand the pain of death or the true hope of Christmas, yet he comes offering the only gift he knows—the gift of his pa rum pa pum pum.

Here’s what I’ve concluded:

Traditions begin and end with choices.

I think that we best honor those who have passed by carrying on the legacy that they left. It pays tribute to them. It is an inaudible way of saying, our lives are richer because you were in it.

Christmas Eve dinner used to be held at my Grandma Ham’s house. I looked forward to it as the staple of my Christmas experience. When she passed away, we had a choice to make. This year, everyone will come to our house for Christmas Eve dinner.

And although the attendees aren’t the same, the tradition lives on.

After dinner, I hope to walk around the neighborhood singing familiar carols. In some special way, I hope Aunt Trish and Grandma, along with so many others, are in heaven celebrating with us.

One day, I hope to look down on my boys doing the same.

What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?

If you could begin a new tradition this year, what would it be?


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