For quite a number of people, the festive season isn’t complete until the family is gathered together marking the year with parties or dinners, exchanging gifts or recounting mischief done in the past.
As common as having a large family may seem, whether nuclear or close extended, it was a wish of mine, at my early growing years, to be a member of one – a whooping large family. Until I arrived at the age where I could understand and accept that my second sibling would be the last child of my parents.
I grew up with no relation in same state, or aunts/ uncles that lived nearby or perhaps, not so much a traveling distance away, to visit sparsely and miss each other during seasons.
Growing up, I missed out on the fun of having cousins honk while in the car parked right outside the house, reminding you to quickly get done with bath/makeup so they wouldn’t miss a chance at getting reserved seats at a conference or concert or some game retreat or some relatives’ wedding.
Only just now, typing this, a faint memory of my family visiting my grandfather at his apartment 30mins away from mine, flashed through my mind. Too long ago, maybe like two decades ago this happened.
Traditions, Seasonal Pointers, TV Programs and the Family
As far as I know, it’s fairly stiff keeping up with traditions in a smaller family setting, than in a larger one. How I see it, with more heads (large family setting) barking suggestions to contesting a ground rule or disagreeable opinions, some customs stand more chances of being upheld. Unlike having 2 or 3 family members (in a nuclear setting) shrug at a decision or keep their disinterest alive all through family deliberations.
The struggle to keep up with the traditions is also evident when the children’s age group is distributed such that they are all adults in the household at same space of time. The implication of this is not having any younger child/sibling to recreate or relive the memories of rituals more inclined for a younger breed, and this can suck the joy from even continuing in one.
Just like how it has become a past tradition to decorate the sitting room with Christmas sparkles or to install Christmas lights around the ceiling edges, because there isn’t anyone to tug at my dad’s trousers in reminder to get them positioned. We all claim not to have the time.
Again, in my home it didn’t help that as the years improved further, TV programs that united us as a family became more and more scarce. We loved Sesame Street, but it long disappeared from the TV stations and slid into YouTube.
The movie, Jingle All The Way, “Turbo Man”, that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, no longer became a pointer for the Christmas season. Not even the Home Alone series. This makes me wonder what feature in neighborhoods and families remind people of the season.
A signal asides the dwindling and inconsistent harmattan weather.
Typically, the holiday spirit should have been regenerated by drawing the energy from either those cultural habits, or from members of the family, better when it’s large.
When FROM getting irritated by little cousins-once/twice removed or nephews/nieces misdemeanors while sketching plans to miss the next day in their circle, TO fixing a pancake roaster and ice-cream play days ahead with your major involvement. FROM scheduling a simple market visit TO finding yourself on a grocery shopping haul for 50heads.
FROM having big cousins give you the trade secrets to letting your jollof turn out like that of a party jollof, TO sharing relationship ideas.
This is why my fascination for large homes is piqued. Forgive me if I misrepresented the real scenario. My source of information happens to be Family movie genres and TV drama series like the Brady bunch or the Modern Family series (which I’ve been hooked since the first season around 2009, to their current ninth season. The togetherness, the fights and the cooperation or lack of, seem like the ideal holiday family picture).
PS: Sincerely, one of the reasons for this post, asides brooding over having a slow holiday season, is simply to mention The Modern Family and my intense love for it. At times like this when it comes to my rescue, living vicariously through it (the characters) seems like the solution to compensate for a small family status.
It’s a family drama series that’s non-controversial and soft on the mind. Even after being aired for over 7yrs and having the characters grow on camera, it has consistently delivered humorous episodes upon episodes that depict the everyday life and circumstances in a typical (sometimes atypical) family.
If you’re like me with a hunger for a Von Trapp household (Sound of music reference), and you’re certain you can’t find a way to make in-laws of your desired humongous family, don’t stay dissatisfied. Overwhelm yourself with family movies and you will feel good watching the encompassing drama that would be involved, as opposed to feeling lonesome. Spend the holiday cheery and keep your mood alive. It’s the alternative sign of gratitude for life.