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Some traditions are better than others
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I can’t hold my eyes open after 10 p.m., so watching movies at midnight was not my idea.


In fact, the first midnight release I attended was a book release with my best friend, but somehow that led to midnight movies.


Based on the number of scenes I don’t remember when I see the movie again later, I’m still not so sure midnight movies are my best decision.


Yet, Thursday night, there I was, watching the newest "Hunger Games" movie with two good friends, five teenage girls and two huge buckets of buttery popcorn.


The funniest part this time is that movie companies are now starting to offer the big releases at 8 p.m., but we all voted that this didn’t seem like as much fun.


After all, it’s a tradition now.


What traditions do you celebrate?


I admit I’ve always been a little envious of those who celebrate Seder in the spring, as they pass down traditions and stories thousands of years old to their children, in the same way so many generations taught the same stories.


While we do seem to have sandwiched in a few traditional hours during recent chapters of the holiday period that takes place over the next five weeks, it seems that much of our "tradition" has turned to over-scheduling and over-shopping.


I’ve also seen people claiming that most Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday employees volunteer to work those hours, and that they all get bonus pay.


I never got the opportunity to "volunteer to work" in my retail job, and I can’t imagine most stores today are very different.


I have heard two 20-somethings who work at a local retailer comment this week that they do get bonus pay, but that they both volunteered to work because they felt like co-workers with children shouldn’t have to work.


I’m glad they were so generous, but I hate that their parents will also miss them on Thanksgiving so that other folks can go out and shop more.


It’s not that you have to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day or in any one way.


My extended family manages to celebrate three times over the course of a week each year. It’s also why Thanksgiving tradition at my house will likely include surf and turf this year instead of yet another turkey and ham.


According to NPR, the first Thanksgiving in 1621 likely included passenger pigeons, so I don’t think we’re that weird!


I must have been about 12 the year the "old" Walmart in Covington opened, and I witnessed women fighting over buggies at the door.


I proceeded to the toy department only to find adults shoving everything off the shelves in search of sale items they’d hidden two days earlier.


Last year, I discovered that later in the day there are typically still plenty of sales and nearly no crowds because they’ve already been shopping since Thanksgiving, and there aren’t any blockbuster deals worth camping out for, in my book.


I’ve also heard people say that Black Friday deals "save Christmas" in times of tight budgets.


Seriously? Spending Thanksgiving in line or fighting over a cheaper electronic is the only thing that can "save" Christmas?


My great-uncle once talked about how special bananas were because he never tasted one except on Christmas, which also happened to be when he received new shoes.


So, you just can’t convince me that lavish hauls from Santa are traditional. A friend blogged last year about how she spent only $250 on six children for Christmas, plus $75 in gift cards she won.


I assure you her kids weren’t sad or upset, either.


If you keep reading her blog, you’ll also see how much family time they spend, which just might be part of her success.


That doesn’t have to be expensive, either: I have teens on Facebook wishing someone would just help them with homework!


So let’s hear it: What traditions keep the holidays meaningful to your family?


Meanwhile, I’m going to join an Oxford tradition at the Thanksgiving service this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Old Church, and use Friday to paint a few more figures in my Nativity set.


And I’ll just hope by the time we have kids, I have this all figured out.


The blog mentioned can be found at



Terri Kimble Fullerton is Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at