My memory doesn't seem to function like other peoples. At least, from the way they talk it doesn't. I don't really remember any particular Christmas. All my memories just get all jumbled up together into just one big impression of Christmas.
Looking at the special Christmas catalogs from Sears or Penneys, but the pages are just blurs to me. I can't really remember any particular sets of lights, but I remember that we piled in the car or my grandmother's van and drove over to neighborhoods that went all out with the lights and decorations.
And I especially remember sleeping on cots in my grandmother's living room, next to the gas heater that almost glowed as much as the tree in the window. There was the sound of the rotisserie in my grandmother's stove turning all night cooking the pork roast for Christmas dinner the next day. And the smell of the Christmas tree.
Due to various circumstances, my family didn't have traditions for the holidays. Or perhaps we did, but we just changed them from year to year. Though there was a tradition we kept up for several years. That was to trick my sister into wrapping one of her own gifts. And another that we kept for many years was to watch Berkeley Breathed's A Wish for Wings That Work (1991). I can't recommend the book (even though it's basically the same story), but if you can track down the video I think it's well worth watching. That tradition was maintained until the video tape wore out.
I do know that a lot of people have the tradition of watching the movie A Christmas Story (1983). When this comes out you'll still have a few opportunities to see it performed live in the BeeKay theatre. So shake up tradition and watch it there.
And however you watch it, don't just think about Ralphie's story, but try to remember some of your own. And then share it. My father had a decoder, kind of like Ralphie had, but it was Commander Cody (I think), rather than Little Orphan Annie. And I know about his decoder, even though he lost it when he was in third grade, because he told stories about it.
For Thanksgiving we had several people over and we shared dishes that gave us happy memories of childhood. Were these traditional dishes? Well some were, while others we pure memories. Some needed explanation, while others were obvious. But the sharing of memories was a new tradition.