EFFINGHAM — Memories and traditions are woven together to create the fabric that makes each family's holidays special.
Bring up the topic of holiday traditions in any conversation, and people are usually quick to tell you what is special about their family's celebration of the holidays. These traditions can be anything from a special ritual to a comfort food that simply cannot be left out of a holiday menu.
And these memories and traditions are sometimes not something planned and arranged, but come about by accident or circumstance.
After my husband and I were married, we found ourselves settling down in a town that was almost equal distance from my hometown and his.
The drive from our new town of residence to each of our parents' homes took about 1 1/2 hours, and the drive between our hometowns also took nearly the same time.
Like all newlywed couples, we compromised on where we would spend the holidays ... Christmas Eve at my parents, Christmas Day at his parents. And so began what I came to call the Mad Christmas Dash.
The trip never seemed difficult until our first son, Brandon, was born. Then the addition of packing all the extra necessities a baby requires, in addition to Christmas presents, suitcases and any goodies I had managed to find time to bake, began to make the trip a lot of work.
As the years past, and we added son No. 2, Derek, the trip became even harder.
We attended church on Christmas Eve before leaving on the trip to my parents' home. That put the arrival time at the grandparents late in the evening. After unwrapping presents, visiting and eating a very late dinner, the children were wound up tight and so exhausted they couldn't settle down until late in the evening. Sometimes it was midnight before we could coax them down and tuck them into their sleeping bags for the night.