So This Is How A Tradition Starts!

Rick Ropelewski |

By Rick Ropelewski

So This Is How A Tradition Starts!

I don’t recall the specific year it started but when the kids were about nine or ten they decided to help with our outdoor holiday lights.  They had been doing the paper snowflakes and gingerbread houses for years but as I ventured outside to hang some icicle lights on our porch the kids chimed in with “we want to help”.  I smiled and said “that would be great”, while my next thought was figuring out how much longer this project was going to take with their “help”.

They energetically grabbed every string of lights in the house and we headed outside.  There were frequent requests for extension cords, the ladder, hot chocolate and help figuring out some issue, but to their credit they did at least half of the labor and made 110% of the decisions as to which bushes and trees would be getting lights.  I had envisioned that the sugar buzz from the hot chocolate would wear off and I would be left with a giant ball of lights that would take an hour to untangle.  I had to make more than a few adjustments but their energy and enthusiasm was contagious.

The next year the kids started talking about the improvements to their “design” even before all of the boxes with the decorations were out of the basement.  They dug around the basement for the extension cords, figured out the solution to last years’ challenges, and the requests for assistance were less frequent.  I made fewer adjustments thanks to quickly improving skills and they got annoyed when I made any changes to their grand design.  Their process became more streamlined every year even while the scope of their work greatly expanded.  One year my wife, concerned that our house could now be seen from outer space given the volume of holiday lights, tried to delicately suggest that dad did not need to hang the icicle lights given their wonderful work.  That was quickly dismissed as a bad idea (by the kids, not me). 

This year I was wondering if they would continue their holiday ritual given the heavier school workload and busier social schedules (the kids’, not mine).  I am relieved to report that the tradition continues.