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2016-02-11 11:31:00
The Joy of Starting New Holiday Traditions


The holiday season has always been an exciting time. We have mouth-watering food, colorful decorations, sparking lights, warm, crackling fires, and lots of laughter with friends and family. Most of us follow traditions that have been handed down generation after generation. Sometimes, though, we make new traditions.
My wife Shelly and I, along with our three children, have developed the habit of creating new traditions. About five years ago, we had the opportunity to travel around the United States for about two years. During that time, we lived in an RV. We're originally from Michigan which isn't exactly hospitable to Rv-dwellers during the winter months. As such, we spent our holidays in the South. The first year we stayed in Tucson; the second we stayed in San Diego (which, of course, became our eventual home.) 
Since we didn't have friends or family in the area, we decided to start some new traditions. We started with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Our RV oven was rather small, so it would have been difficult to cook a Turkey. So we made shrimp paella instead. A new tradition was born! 
Once we settled in the San Diego area permanently, our Thanksgiving traditions continued to evolve. Since we do not have any family in the area, we spend a lot of time with our adopted family from our mma gym, the  San Diego Fight Club. The gym holds an annual 'turkey roll' where members and nonmembers can gather, do lots of jiu jitsu, and catch up on the events of the last year. The two hours of intense sparring are great for alleviating the guilt of eating 10,000 calories worth of arborio rice, lima beans, and shrimp. 
Once we get back from the gym, we hit the pool and hot tub for about an hour. As a lifelong Michigan resident, swimming in late November is still a bit of a trip. After that, we start making the paella while watching reruns of 'Little House on the Prairie.' When the paella is finished, we gather around the table and eat.
Our unorthodox holiday traditions aren't limited to Thanksgiving; we get pretty creative for all of them. Many are still evolving. For example, our Christmas celebration is rather low-key. This year, we might try something new like going for a hike in the mountains or hitting the beach.
What about you?
I always like to hear stories of unorthodox holiday celebrations. What does your family do that goes against the grain? Share your experiences by leaving a comment!
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