One of our family traditions is to gather at our mother’s home during the Christmas season. We exchange gifts and enjoy a festive meal as part of our celebration. At some point in time, my mother and I began to notice that one certain little red polka dotted box was being exchanged between us year after year. Mom is a saver and I inherited that trait. Strangely enough, each of us had been saving that same little box for use the next year. I’d put a hand towel or some needlework in it and wrap it for my mom. The next year she might put an apron or a calendar in it and give it back to me.
I don’t remember exactly when we actually realized the same box was showing up under the tree year after year, but since it was there each time, we began to write notes inside the box lid, and then we just had to make sure the box appeared each Christmas. The notes included things that happened in our family during the year and the ragged box lid became an abbreviated journal of sorts.
Inside the little red box, we recorded weddings, births, graduations, new homes, and even the loss of relatives and close friends. We passed the box back and forth for so many years that we ran out of room on the lid and began to write on the bottom of the inside, then the bottom of the outside, and recently we’ve added additional pages to our “journal”. The box has become ragged and the corners have been taped and reinforced, but we love it anyway.
There have been years when I was able to convince my mother that SHE had been the keeper of the box, when actually, I’d had it all along and had secretly hidden it behind the other presents under the Christmas tree. We make sure it’s the last gift opened each year and part of the tradition of the little red box is to pass it around so everyone can read the family history written there. The last 28+ years have been recorded.
Mom had the little red box this year and in it she recorded what she felt were this year’s highlights. Passing the little red box is one of my favorite traditions.