Every year, I pray the holiday season brings families together to celebrate traditions unique to their families. It is a time where memories of the past are shared and hopes for the future can be looked forward to.

Growing up on a multigeneration farm usually means that the same walls and roofs are used over and over again for family gatherings. If a farmhouse could write a book of everything that’s happened behind its doors, its pages would be full of the longest and most entertaining stories from multiple generations. Some traditions stay the same year after year, but new ones also being made, as new members are added to the family and times change. Some family members may move away for school or to start their own families. Not everyone stays on the home farm, but it can be sure that the old farm house will always be there to be filled with warm holiday cheer when everyone comes home for Christmas!

Sometimes, uncontrollable circumstances lead to a need for a change. After 25-plus years in our old log farmhouse, it was time for my parents to find a new home to make memories in. Time for another branch of the family tree to take over the house and begin creating their own stories on the pages of the old log walls.

The new house was christened with one full-blown family Christmas, but then the pandemic hit and put a hold on our story writing. The garage walls and trees surrounding the backyard became the new blank pages for the memories we made over the next two years. It may not have been how we hoped to spend time with our parents, but in the end the important part was that we were all together.

Luckily, some Christmas traditions didn’t need to be adjusted – such as getting the Christmas tree! Every year I go with my dad to either get our tree, or my parents’ tree. We’ve missed very few years, and now my little one gets to enjoy going for a tree with gramps as well as mommy and daddy. The excitement in his eyes when the tree is picked out, cut down and lit up is heartwarming. These moments make the holidays extra special. Other traditions are beginning to pick up again, like Christmas baking weekends. I may not know my mother’s kitchen like the back of my hand anymore, but that adds to the fun and chaos; trying to find the tools you need, while navigating around each other.

There are many parts of being in the old log farmhouse that I miss. I worried we would start to forget the stories from its walls, but once the new one was filled with the same furniture, trinkets and decorations – especially Christmas ones – all those memories come flowing back every time I see them. They act as reminders of the most important memories created growing up. Memories I will cherish forever.

Now stories and memories are being made in Granny and Gramp’s house, not mom and dad’s. As long as our family can be together, it doesn’t matter which walls, roof, trees, or sky we have surrounding us.

Enjoy the holiday season everyone and don’t be too busy! Enjoy time with family and friends and don’t over stress!

(Do as I say, not as I do, haha).

Getting and decorating the family Christmas tree is a longstanding tradition in the Barton household. Photo: Laura Barton