By: Joe Lipovski

The traditions from our childhood change over time. There’s a growing set of responsibilities as we transition into being an adult, combined with the inevitable moving away of both friends and family. This results in the inevitable changing of the childhood traditions that we held so dear in our youth.

As a kid, my family would leave Edmonton to go camping on the last day of school. The car would be packed the night before, and the last day of school was usually a half-day. My parents would pick me up and my dad would point the car west toward Jasper.

Our favourite spot for camping was Whistler’s campground near Jasper. Back in the 80s, Whistler’s campground was the place to be with many amenities, including an outdoor theatre and free firewood. Unfortunately, the old adage “nothing in life is free” heard about this and firewood is now provided at an extra charge.

Another of my favourite traditions was a backpacking adventure my dad and I would do, usually along the Berg Lake Trail on Mount Robinson. We would spend 3 days hiking, using the second day to relax at Berg Lake and take in all of its splendors and isolation from the real world. Hiking out would always take less time then hiking in, and would allow us time to stop in Jasper to have a nice supper and absorb what we had taken in over our trip.

Thanksgiving was the next big tradition in line every year and it always saw our family and friends renting out a summer camp. This always included bunkhouses, a mess hall, and a boathouse. Unfortunately the lake was inevitably frozen by mid October meaning no boating, swimming or other water activities…save for one year when the Alberta freeze left the lake alone and liquid enough to enjoy a little canoeing.

My family celebrated my birthday on Thanksgiving, so I would invite a few friends to come out with us. Hide and seek was the game of choice, day or night didn’t matter. The only rule we had was no hiding inside any building. I once hid under the car. Thinking back, I was lucky someone didn’t drive away in it.

For Christmas Eve, my family would have an appetizer supper, with the following day being our big family Christmas dinner at my grandparent’s. As the extended family continued to grow, gift traditions became more for the kids. Many of my extended family members moved away for work or family reasons as can be expected. The traditions changed. As families grew and people got married, had kids and got divorced those traditions changed, and adapted for new families and members. We still get together, only not on Christmas and not every year.

I miss the traditions of my childhood. Most of my friends have moved away, with some starting families of their own with new traditions. People change and with that traditions change as well. I never used to enjoy Halloween. Now I have a Halloween and New Years parties every year. Each year that goes by new traditions are made, while old traditions are retired. Changing traditions is a sign of personal and family growth and is something that should be celebrated not dwelled on.

Photo courtesy of The Astonishing Tales