New holiday traditions

Published 5:44 am Thursday, December 4, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like change. I guess I should clarify and say change that takes something away; things that are added I’m usually pretty happy with. Take for instance the new tradition my dad started this year. Like his mother does every year, my father has decided to give out ornaments to everyone who comes to Thanksgiving. This is something different I welcome with open arms and empty branches.
Being out on my own for the first time, the amount of holiday decorations I have is quite pitiful.
Luckily though, thanks to my grandmother’s tradition (and now my dad’s too) I have something to put on the tree. Unfortunately, I left several key decorating components, mainly the tree, in Birmingham.
That’s ok though, I think I’ll try and head out to the tree farm and pick one out. Cutting down a live tree actually used to be one of my favorite Christmas traditions until my brother developed an allergy, and we had to put an end to it. Actually, I think my parents didn’t want to hassle with it anymore, and they just used my brother as an excuse, but now I can make my own traditions, and allergies won’t keep me from having a live tree, maybe from being able to breathe and actually smelling the tree, but not from having it.
As much as I hate change, I surprised myself in being able to move three hours away from friends and family, but up until now it hasn’t hit me.
After having a nice, extended stay with my family this weekend it made me sad to think I wouldn’t be seeing them as much this holiday season.
Then today when I was interviewing Mr. Fancher for this week’s senior living, and it hit me how silly I was being.
Mr. Fancher’s wife of almost 58 years died five months ago. This will be his first Christmas without her, and their anniversary is two days after. Throughout our conversation he was always talking about her and how hard it has been without her.
I cautiously asked Mr. Fancher how his Thanksgiving was and his answer surprised me. He told me of going to his granddaughter’s house and eating with the family, but then he told me about his list. He heard a preacher on the radio saying you should take a piece of paper and make two columns, one for things you complain about and the other for things you’re thankful for.
Mr. Fancher said he had nothing in the complaints column and 62 in the other. I thought, wow, as obviously bereaved as he is, he still couldn’t say he had anything to complain about and that he was still adding to his list of 62.
Here I was thinking of plenty of complaints and he said he had none.
I think this list will be my newest tradition. If things start to ever seem bleak I’ll just take a look at my list and remember how lucky I really am.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

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