Lucy Kurup: Family traditions made holidays at home special

I often wonder which, if any, I will continue as an adult.

Lucy Kurup.png

As I prepare to head off to college in the fall, I have been looking back on some of my fondest childhood moments. My family has many fun holiday traditions that I cherish and will especially miss as I spend less time at home.

One of my favorite traditions is collecting Christmas ornaments. Every time we go on a trip, we take home an ornament as a souvenir. Every pet we owned and every place we lived are also commemorated with ornaments. Road trips, state parks, musicals, family reunions, college visits, and other special moments are all captured in our collection.

As a result, decorating the tree feels like stepping through my childhood and reliving all the special experiences my family has had.

Another accidental family tradition is decorating the house the night before someone’s birthday, so they wake up to find the house filled with balloons and streamers. Hilariously, this tradition started because of a failure on my parents' part. We were celebrating my grandparents’ 40th anniversary at Lake Tahoe when my parents suddenly realized that my fourth birthday was the following day. They rushed to Safeway late that night and hurriedly decorated our vacation rental condo.

When I woke up, I was thrilled to see how festive the house looked. My sister’s birthday is only three weeks after mine, and she began immediately asking what decorations would fill our house on her birthday morning. Thus, the tradition of waking up to birthday decorations became set in stone.


A few years later, my parents added an extra dimension to the birthday decoration tradition by making personalized posters. Pictures from the previous year are paired with cheesy captions like “May all your birthday FISHES come true” on a picture of my sister holding a fish she caught or “FELINE fine on my birthday” next to me snuggling our foster kittens. The first thing I do when I wake up on my birthday is run around the house laughing at all the puns.

Springtime brings my family’s annual Easter scavenger hunt. Instead of looking for eggs, my sister and I follow rhyming clues to different places around the house, finally leading to our Easter baskets. The clues contain funny family inside jokes. One example is, “If we lived in Hawaii you’d play this a lot, but in cold Minnesota perhaps you will not” getting us to look in the ukulele case.

As we’ve grown older, the scavenger hunt has expanded to us traversing the neighborhood on scooters and eventually searching all of Rochester once we could drive. I joke with my parents that they should expand the next scavenger hunt to include all of Minnesota and then the whole country. I was sad when my sister couldn’t make it home from college to bond over our Easter hunt this year, but I still look back on our scavenger hunts fondly.

None of these holiday traditions are ones my parents inherited from their parents, but instead were created from their own experiences raising my sister and me. I often wonder which, if any, I will continue as an adult.

I feel bittersweet when looking back on the activities that made my childhood holidays so special. I will always cherish these memories, but I am excited to find out what new traditions I make for the holidays in college and beyond.

Lucy Kurup is a senior at Mayo High School. Send comments on teen columns to Jeff Pieters, .

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