Our traditions aren’t spectacular. We don’t do the same thing for every holiday, at the same place, or even at the same time. We switch it up. Not so much on purpose, but that’s just the way life seems. Some years, we go here for Thanksgiving and other years, we go there. Sometimes, we stay put. Christmas is much the same way. We’ve been home or gone visiting grandparents. One year, not so long ago, I realized a few days before Christmas that I had forgotten to get our plane tickets and so, the cheapest option meant we spent Christmas Day in airports. It was sorta fun. It’s the being together that we remember. At least, for us. And doing the things that are uniquely eastern North Carolina.

A horse-drawn carriage ride from the Bertie County Arts Council, Santa Clause and S’mores down by the river, followed by hot gooey pizza at Lasca’s.

Parents sip icy mugs of draft beer while children scrounge the car for quarters to play old-fashioned video games. And don’t forget the lights.

A trip to Windsor, NC demands a drive through the Hoggard Christmas Lights where we roll the windows down, give a donation for the gift of cheerfulness, marvel over the new blowup figurines and exclaim over our old favorites.

I think tradition is embracing the stamps of ordinary that burrow in the mind and heart.

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