Oh Christmas morning. When I was little, I used to sleep in my big brother’s room the night before Christmas. We’d wake up obscenely early and giggle and peer down the shadowy staircase; waiting for our parents to wake up. When our whispers started tending towards shrieks and tiptoes to the thumping of running back and forth between our rooms, my dad would blearily emerge from his room, wrapping his robe around him. We lived in Wisconsin, so things like robes and slippers were necessities. Mom and I waited upstairs while the boys went down to stoke the fire, make hot chocolate (and coffee) and get everything ready. And when I say “we waited upstairs,” I mean Mom took her

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I like traditions. I like the sense of history, continuity and connection that seem inherent in most traditions. That may be partially why I went to UVA, a school chock full of secret societies, tradition, history and community. I know, I talk about UVA a lot, but that’s just how it’s going to be. Wahoowah. But I want to talk about personal traditions. I find that most of my traditions center around the holidays and even more so around food. Every Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, we’ve had pumpkin roll. Every Christmas morning my brother demands his traditional Christmas breakfast called Easy Cheesy. Every November I host a “Friendsgiving” and every December I host my annual “Birthmas”

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