As generations change, so do holiday traditions


His parents. My grandparents. His aunts.  My parents. 

This is the reoccurring conversation when upcoming holiday plans are discussed.  I channel my inner Reese Witherspoon each holiday season in regard to her character from Four Christmases.  (Now if I could just say ya’ll without sounding completely ridiculous!)

On this day six years ago, my then boyfriend proposed. Over the last six years, our lives, families, and traditions have been mended into one.  We have done a noble job of splitting our time between our two families.  Traditions that we both know and love have continued into our adulthood and married years.  We are blessed to have four generations on each side of our families.  All members of our two families share the joy and love of the Christmas season with our young children.  

Four Generations

The hierarchy of my husband’s family passed away this year.  His grandfather lived for our oldest child: his great-grandson.  For the past two Christmases, my husband and I kept our family tradition status quo to spend those holiday seasons with him and the rest of our family back home.  We packed our belongings and presents and traveled over the Christmas holiday. 

For this holiday, we have humbly discussed how when one generation passes and new generations start, family traditions start to shift.  

What my husband has done for the past thirty-two years will be different this year.

Our traditions as a married couple will not have the same familiarity.  

My son’s experiences from the past two Christmas seasons will also transform into something new.  

So, I ask myself, whose role is it to take on the next generation of holiday hostingIs it ours because we are both the oldest on each side of our families?  Are we a shoe-in because we are the only ones with small children thus far?  Do family members start traveling to us?  Will my children get to wake up in their own beds to their own Christmas tree on Christmas morning?  

I’m not sure if there are any “right” answers to these questions.  While we are human and creatures of habit, this upcoming holiday has a strange taste with the reoccurring discussion of new holiday plans.  Sure, the magic of Christmas will be present in whatever we do, but there definitely is an unfamiliar taste in our mouths as generations change and new traditions start.  Until we establish new traditions over the next few years, I guess I’ll just have to eat a few more Christmas cookies to help subdue the taste of unfamiliarity. 

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Ashli is a Fayette County native but made the leap to Allegheny County in 2013. She married a man named Jarred that she met randomly at a Toby Keith concert at KeyBank Pavilion. Seven years later, they have shared four blissful years of marriage and have welcomed three children into their homes; their oldest- a black rescue lab named Fiona, a sweet toddler boy named Collins, and a precious baby girl named Carmie. Ashli and her clan live in the South Hills, but more importantly five short minutes to Target where she enjoys quiet weekend strolls through the aisles. Extra bonus points are added when she stumbles upon something she doesn’t need, but has to purchase because it has the red clearance sticker on it. Ashli is currently working on obtaining her Master’s degree in STEM Education. Ashli is passionate about working with children, and is a fifth-grade teacher presently on maternity leave. Last January, Kristine Sorensen from KDKA interviewed Ashli because she was nominated as a top Peer Mentor for the students in her district. While away from the classroom this year to take care of her own sweet babies, she receives weekly FaceTime calls from former students that need a pep talk. Ashli’s goal in life is to change the lives of students that have ventured onto that wrong path in life, and do everything she can to get them back on the right one.