Family Traditions

AUTHOR:  Karen Mayfield
DATE:  11/04/2020

My son and I were recently having a conversation about family traditions...

Specifically we were talking about honoring family members by naming babies after them. For example, he is named after his father who was named after his grandfather. My daughter is named after my mother in law, whom unfortunately passed away before my husband and I were even engaged. Anyway, the name conversation sent us off into talking about other traditions we do like birthday t-shirts, Christmas Eve mass at church with family, and mommy’s Black Friday shopping with Aunt Heather and Miss Jessica. After reflecting on our conversation later that day, I had realized a tradition we had not done in several years.

About 14-15 years ago, my brother brought home his now wife to celebrate the holidays with us for the first time. They had met in Saratoga Springs, NY where she grew up and my brother was stationed for the Navy. We were sitting around the table talking after dinner when Amy brought out this red sack with a peppermint candy pig about the size of my hand inside of it and a little hammer. We were all very confused as to what we were looking at. Amy explained that this pig was a tradition in Saratoga Springs dating back many, many years. Each person would have a turn with the pig and share a story of something good that happened that year and then tap the pig with the hammer. After the last person shared their story, the pig would be broken up into pieces and everyone had a yummy treat to share and stories to remember. At the time, we were all living 8 hours apart in different directions, so I looked forward to hammering the pig and hearing of all the good my family had that year. It seems like such a silly thing to do, but it really brought warmth and happiness to my heart.

pink peppermint pig.

Picture provided by

My family has not participated in this tradition in sometime unfortunately, but I think that after this year, we are going to bring it back. The year 2020 is one for the history books and with so much focus on all the bad that has happened, we need to take time to reflect on the good that has come out of this year even if it is something small. Sharing moments around the dinner table with loved ones is the best way to do it! To learn more about the Peppermint Pig, visit the Saratoga Candy Co.

Maybe the peppermint pig isn’t your style. You can share in tradition with your family and friends during the holiday season other ways, such as baking, making cards, adopting a family to give gifts to, and more. The end of 2020 is coming, take the time to make the end good for you and others!

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Karen Mayfield

Assistant Director for CPR, Risk Management & Student Employee Development


153 Alumni Arena

Phone: 716-645-3996