Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mutable Traditions

We tend to think of traditions as unchangeable, but they're really not. They provide a certain continuity, but they do change over time. Take Christmas lights, for example.

When we first set up housekeeping, we were given some vintage Christmas lights to trim our first tree. They were similar to the ones I grew up with -- large and wired in sequence (so when one goes out, they all go out). It wasn't long before replaced them with minilights. And this year, we replaced them with LED lights.

The tradition of stringing the tree with lights didn't change, but the type of lights did. Each change brought a different type of illumination to the tree. So the tree we have now has a substantially different appearance than the ones from Christmases past.

These were obvious changes, but each year there are other more subtle differences that we don't always notice.

Its a wonderful time of year, and for me part of the appeal is that it's never quite the same as it was before.

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