Traditions add meaning to our celebrations and help bond us to those we love. Whether it's watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade or stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree, holiday traditions connect us to our history and help us celebrate generations of family. They give us a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important to us. Nothing could be further from the truth for one such family in Fayette County, Georgia.
The Farrington girls giggle with delight and anticipation as they release their parent's hands to run and find a hiding place. Anna was five and the twin girls, Amy and Corrie, were nine when the very first spontaneous game of hide-and-seek was played. It wasn't planned or organized, instead it just unfolded - in the simplest of ways - in a field of beautiful green trees. That was twenty years ago and still, on the day after Thanksgiving, every family member knows where the Farrington's will be - at Minter's Farm enjoying their annual holiday tradition. Minter's Farm is lush with Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pines, Carolina Sapphires, Blue Ice and Fir trees. The farm is the place to find the perfect tree. It's also the perfect playground for a super fun game of hide-and-seek.
Brian Farrington was usually designated "it". One, two, three, four, five...twenty! "Ready or not, here I come!" He would call and set out to find his little girls and wife, Leanne, amongst the trees. Respectfully, the family would play their game in an area where there weren't a lot of people or where the trees were very large. Leanne recalls, "One year there was a section where the trees were huge - so large the kids thought is was like Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia. The memory makes Leanne smile and chuckle. "I appreciate the fun, the sounds of playing, laughing and the excitement the game created for my girls."
For Brian and Leanne, it has always been a tradition to take the kids to the farm to cut their own Christmas tree from the time the kids were babies. They've never had an artificial tree. "Brian made cutting the tree look easy and it was fun to let the girls have a try and watch their faces when they realized how hard it was." Minter's Farm is very family friendly. Hot cider and riding in the back of the farm truck was a treat that became part of the Farrington's tradition as well. Out of town house guests would always join the fun and now, their two sons-in-law - Corrie's husband Anderson and Anna's husband Drew - are incorporated into the game.
When the Farrington's get home, the carefully chosen tree is placed in a stand. Music from their Amy Grant Christmas album provides the background sounds while they put up the holiday lights. The tree is completely decorated by that evening and the Farrington's bask in the wake of another wonderful family tradition. As the Farrington girls are all grown up, family traditions contributed significantly to the closeness and bond they have with each other.
Traditions bring family and friends together and strengthen connections. They create great memories and give loved ones something they can depend on and look forward to. Brian and Leanne are incredibly grateful for all the great memories they have of time with their kids and look forward to the memories still to be made. Bottom line: Traditions nurture our spirit. If you don't have one it's never too late to start one, and it doesn't have to be perfect, just something you will enjoy.