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Family traditions make the holidays special

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Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:09 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Have you ever thought back to when you were a child and what your favorite holiday memory is? Why is it so special? Who is involved? Where did it happen? 

I can remember vividly one of the most wonderful gifts I received. I remember the details of that morning as if I were there today. I still have that gift nearly 30 years later, have kept it in good condition and use it often. 

What is it? It is a saddle. I have ridden many miles in it and plan on many more. When I first received it, I thought it was the greatest thing and still do. But as I got older, I began to appreciate the gift more.

In my 20s, I began to realize the sacrifices my parents made to buy such a gift. Now that I’m in my 40s, with my mom gone and my dad in his 80s, this gift is held deeper in my heart as it was not only a sacrifice, but also their love for me. I will always cherish this saddle, and whenever I see it, oil it or ride in it, I will have the memories of that morning and my parents’ beaming faces with me.

I remember growing up and making homemade suckers with my mom using these great old molds. She would make the mix then pour it in the molds and I would be on standby to put the sticks in. When my mom passed away, the molds were among the few things I requested, not only because I think it is fun to use them, but also because of the memories I hold dear to my heart. I now make suckers with my nieces.

During the years there are numerous traditions my father and I love to do. One of my favorites is to bake holiday goodies with him. He has taught me how to make divinity and I always think of him when I am making it on my own.

I love holiday decorations, and a tradition I started in the past 10 years is the inside of my house changes from the wall hangings to the dishes to my bedding. I love the feeling it gives me.

A few years ago, I started a new tradition based on a book I received the previous year as a present. If you like to read, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of “Christmas Jars.” It has added a new flavor to my holiday season.

As the holiday season nears and you start to think about memories you can make, remember your favorite memory and the who, what, where, why and how involved with it. Then think of how you can make a difference in your life and your child’s life or the life of another person. Gifts don’t have to be big and elaborate, they can be time spent talking and listening or showing service to others without them knowing.

May you have a wonderful holiday season and may your memories and traditions be plentiful.

To learn more about the 4-H Program, contact Marla Lowder, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Tanana District 4-H and youth development agent, at 474-2427 or The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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