The year we broke out the kazoos, I was a bit concerned. You see, I am part of this huge family who just absolutely loves their holiday traditions. Or maybe I should say their holiday celebrations, because while there are some events that get repeated year after year, we are definitely a clan who likes to mix it up a bit. The holiday season in the Fitzgerald/Smith/Caswell family really has no end and no beginning, especially when you put birthdays (which we consider national holidays) into the mix. If we’re talking about the traditional holiday season, however, then I guess you could say we start that celebration about mid-October. That’s when my mom gets out her massive collection of Halloween decorations, claiming it’s her favorite holiday. (You should see her collection of Presidents Day decorations — don’t let her fool you, the woman loves all holidays). Anyway, once the Halloween decorations are out, it.is.on. We visit the pumpkin patch and cider mill, we host a pumpkin carving party and we always, always eat chili. There is a brief intermission and then the Thanksgiving fun gets underway. Sometimes that includes a trip to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, sometimes it just includes a large family gathering with lots of yummy food. The real fun begins the day after Thanksgiving when my family takes a hayride into the woods on the grounds of a tree farm to pick not one, not two, but three Christmas trees to fill our homes. We head home to decorate, make candy houses and eventually my three siblings and I find ourselves dressed in coordinating sweaters standing in front of one of the trees for our parent’s holiday card. From there the winter holiday festivities are in full swing. There’s a chicken dinner in Frankenmuth, a visit to my husband’s family Christmas, caroling through my cousin’s neighborhood, plenty of shopping and then the king daddy — our Christmas Eve. Growing up, my Christmas Eve involved getting dressed up, heading to church and returning home for a formal dinner. Sometime during my college career my mom and aunt decided to switch (and stitch) it up a bit. They crafted about 30 pairs of matching — not to mention loud — holiday pants. Each family was instructed to bring a crock full of hearty soup and a relaxed, cozy holiday tradition began. The matching pants party continues to evolve. We now gather in our matching wear and sing carols fireside. This year we’re all wearing matching sweatshirts too. And, of course, I’ll never forget the year everyone got their own kazoo to add a little something extra to the celebration. While that year (and maybe everything we do) may be a bit over the top, I wouldn’t change any of it. I like that my family keeps things fun and flexible. And we never forget the most important part of the any holiday season — spending time together. So, this year celebrate the season anyway that makes you happy. Even if it involves a kazoo.
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.