An Accidental Tradition
A few years ago, my husband and I were looking for ways to spice up our Christmas a bit—or maybe it was to feel a little less lonely. With all of our relatives living out of town, and with little kids now in the equation, we had made the decision to always spend Christmas at home, instead of on the highway.
As we approached Christmas in 2018, I said to John, “Why don’t we see if some of our friends want to come over on Christmas night?” I honestly figured everyone would be busy with their families and didn’t have high expectations. But one after the other they all said, “Yes!” And on Dec. 25 of that year, we closed out our Christmas Day at a table full of friends, sipping cocktails and playing hilarious board games.
The next year everyone asked us, “Are you going to have people over again?”—and there you have it. An accidental tradition that is still going strong.
Traditions are defined in two ways: customs/beliefs that are passed down through the generations or something that is done time after time or year after year. They are important because when everything else is in chaos, traditions are something you can count on, keeping us grounded to our past and connected to our families and communities.
The concept of traditions is a common thread in this issue of Lynchburg Living—and it was a little by accident, to be honest—starting with our cover story about Woodruff’s Café and Pie Shop in Amherst County (page 133). It was an absolute joy to spend time at the shop with owner Angie Wilson and her family as I learned what has kept this shop going through the ups and downs. Hear what their well-known mother, Mary Woodruff, instilled in them, even up to the day she died earlier this year at 104 years old.
Another tradition many in this area know about, but may not know the backstory of, is the Troops Rally in downtown Lynchburg—a straightforward gathering of veterans 20 years ago that turned out to be a recurring weekly event (page 106). We are also highlighting a tradition that’s 50 years strong in the Hill City, the Virginia Christmas Spectacular at Thomas Road Baptist Church (page 53).
As you rush around to finish your Christmas shopping and make it to all of those holiday events, remember to step back and give your traditions the respect, and the breathing room, they deserve. They don’t have to be complicated, specific or even have a long history.
As I’ve learned, sometimes you just have to create your own.
Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor