When my Jewish Brooklyn-raised father married my Catholic one-of-nine-siblings mother in 1967, they knew there would be obstacles to overcome, families to blend, family members to tolerate, and traditions to learn. They knew there would be compromise. They were ready for new adventures, new cities and new careers. In the extended honeymoon phase of their marriage, little was demanded of the other - with one exception.
My dad, having lived 30 years without a Christmas celebration, felt that reparations were in order. They brainstormed. They argued. There were negotiations. My mom argued that 8 days of Chanukah each year more than compensated. (Both of my parents were math teachers at the time and this was a point well taken.) But after a little give and take, a plan was hatched.
Lieberman Christmas. Celebrated each July 25 by Lieberman family and friends.
Fast forward 49 and a half years and the tradition is strong. As you would expect during Christmas shopping days, each year I find myself scrambling around town looking for gifts. We surprise our friends with hot chocolate, carols and holiday movies. We act like Christmas in July is completely normal, and to us it is.
Today, Christmas Eve, I'm surprising the kids with a short Christmas holiday in Colorado. If I pull this off - I have basically never kept a secret from my kids - I'll be more amazed than anyone.
Consider yourself part of the tradition - take a little break from essays, applications, stressful conversations, virtual campus visits. Make some cookies for Santa. Write a convincing note about how "good" you've been. Tell your family and friends how much you appreciate them.
Think about your family traditions. How have they shaped you? What traditions will you carry with you to college and beyond?