Traditions. The holiday season is packed full of them. When I was child, I remember every Christmas Eve my good friend’s father would take us for a walk to see the lights in our neighborhood. It would help pass the time before we went to bed, eagerly anticipating the big man’s arrival (no not Clarence Clemons for you Springsteen enthusiasts), but good old Santa Claus.

I also remember visiting a dear friend that has since passed, the Friday after Christmas, for most of my childhood and early adult life. She always had presents for me as a child, and as I grew older, she still did. But what she didn’t realize was the conversation, and the wisdom she shared with me was the greatest gift. I still love and miss you. Betty.

Then there was the food, especially during Thanksgiving. It was truly the one time a year that I got green bean casserole. I think to this day, why can’t this dish be prepared throughout the year, but I digress. Buckeyes are another holiday staple. This is the only time I’ll ever say anything nice about a Buckeye (#WeAre). These little peanut butter delicacies dipped in chocolate always bring a smile to my face.

Being a husband for nearly 15 years, my wife and I have begun a few traditions of our own with our eight-year-old son. The first we have adopted is holding Thanksgiving dinner for our families at our house. Some might not want the stress, but since we had to commute to each other’s homes on holidays prior to our marriage this has always been a welcomed relief.

We also have a unique tradition of decorating our tree. My wife and son do most of it, and I come in at the end to strategically place one ornament and hide a pickle on the tree. Supposedly the pickle brings luck in the New Year. Without a doubt, my son’s favorite holiday tradition is erecting a train putz.

Each year we set up the platform and decorate it with trees, houses, cars, and so much more as we try to make our town come to life. We always try to achieve the magnitude of Merchants Square Train Exhibit. Knowing we can’t come close, it sure is fun trying, and the time spent with my son is cherished.

So there you have it Lehigh Valley, some of my childhood traditions and my family’s current ones. Do you care to share some of yours?

Here’s to a wonderful holiday season.