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Holiday traditions

Holiday Traditions (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

Holiday Traditions (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

There is nothing like holiday traditions, everyone has them. But not all traditions are the same.

For my family, the one tradition that we don’t miss out on is a little different than most and unexpected for those who come to visit during Christmas. We have a paper ball fight using the wrapping paper after everyone finishes opening their gifts.

I know it may seem strange that we enjoy throwing paper at one another, but it keeps the laughter flowing through the house. I don’t even remember how many years ago that this tradition started; however, I do remember the person who started it.

My dad.

The funniest part about that is he was always one to say “Quit throwing things in the house!” Then one Christmas, after we were all done with the gifts, he looked over at me, picked up a ball of wrapping paper and just threw it across the room at my brother-in-law, Ronnie.

The shock on Ronnie’s face was priceless. But that started it, everyone was throwing paper at each other, laughing, ducking, and grabbing as much paper as they could to throw.  And my mom, well she just shook her head, laughing and joined right in.

And that is when the tradition started.

Now some of you may have caught the ‘was’ about my dad and some may not. He passed away in July 2016 and this is our third Christmas without him.

That first Christmas was extremely difficult. I had lost one grandmother the year before, my mother-in-law in February 2016, and then my dad in July (even worse just five days before my birthday). And now this year, my father-in-law and my dog, Hobbs, passed away in June and one of my best friends passed away in November.

Rough doesn’t even begin to cover how the holidays make me feel. But remembering the fun times and keeping up the traditions has helped.

Having my family and friends helps me get through these times and keeps me resilient. Making sure to keep the laughter also brings the good memories to the front instead of the sad ones.

It is always better to talk about those you have lost, because talking about them keeps them alive inside you, plus you never know what kind of loss someone else is going through. Being able to show others that you understand may help with the sadness they are feeling about missing someone special in their life. 

So remember those around you during the holidays and whatever your traditions may be, whether it is to bake cookies, donate your time at a shelter, just watching the football games or holiday classics, keep on doing them. That tradition could be the one thing that helps get someone through.

And for anyone wondering, my brother-in-law is always the first to get hit with a paper ball and that too is a tradition that keeps on living.