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Voices of MainStreet: April Lee

The Joy of Traditions

Nov. 29, 2010

Downtown Seattle trees are lined with lights like any other city does around this time of year.  Macy’s plays Christmas music over the street speakers while children wait their turn to sit on Santa’s lap just behind the giant windows. It truly feels like Christmastime!

But let’s not rush into things, folks. I think the majority of the population would like to have a little breathing room in between holidays. This year I made a pact with my sister: We are not putting up Christmas decorations until Dec. 1. And she can play Christmas music for the entire month of December.

My uncle used to send a new Snoopy ornament every year to both of us when we were kids. Holiday school projects and musical Christmas lights also hung on the fake tree (my mother is allergic to the real thing). On Christmas Eve we would place the hastily wrapped presents underneath the tree and sing along with the “singing” colored lights. Traditions are typically something of an obligation but it seems to me people find pleasure in the familiar. Every year, though we are grown adults, it is heavily implied by my sister to eat the cookies and drink the milk she has left out for “Santa.” See what I’m working with? What can I say? I love her and her silly traditions she refuses to let go of. This is the only time of year I drink milk. I dislike milk but it’s an obligatory tradition I may have a little fun in continuing.

She bought me a Santa hat with “Bah-humbug” sewn with green thread across the bottom. I am a joyful Scrooge, at least.

Families are not the only communities that have their own traditions. A 61-year-old Seattle Christmas tradition is to go on the Argosy Christmas Ship. The Christmas ship, which is actually a Christmas ship parade since there are ships following, stop at 45 different waterfront communities while local choirs serenade the masses. The actual Christmas Ship is more family oriented while the “parade ships” are a little less geared toward family friendly atmosphere. Just imagine: the reflection off of the water at night, the lights, the joyful but haunting voices of choirs, children giggling. It’s a lovely little picture.

But aside from the downtown area, it seems the rest of Seattle might want a bit of a break from the Holidays too. I haven’t seen any Christmas decorations but I am sure even my fellow joyful Scrooges will come out to play soon unless there is snow on the ground. Psst. If you haven’t heard, check out videos on Youtube of the recent “snowstorm” Seattle braced on 11/22/10. Cars were skating; people had their cameras: it was a “good” time.

—April is a well-traveled young woman planting her roots in sunny Seattle, or well, just Seattle. Her writing covers whatever piques her interest and curiousity. Check out her blog here.

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