She: I like traditions, but it’s tough to have many when you are nothing-ish and I’m Jewish-ish. I definitely think about it more this time of year.

Z: We have our traditions. Like, how whenever you ask me to take out the garbage, I pretend not to hear you.

She: I was thinking of something a little more festive.

Z: I could wear tinsel and pretend not to hear you.

She: What? I can’t hear you.

Z: That’s because of the strings of popcorn I’m wearing.

She: I was so excited to marry a gentile, with the promise of years of Christmas trees and festive decorations. Growing up, my family tradition consisted of not having a tree and not putting up lights.

Z: You got Chinese food and movies.

She: Only the years when we weren’t drooling over our non-Jewish cousins’ plethora of gifts. I wanted the fancy tree.

Z: We do that.

She: We do Charlie Brown trees.

Z: Which is our tradition.

She: I guess so.

Z: And we hang up stockings every year. Although, do you think it means anything that our stockings say “Koss,” “Zak” and “Mom” on them?

She: It means that “Leslie” didn’t fit in the space where we wrote our names, and that you took advantage of your Jewish-ish wife’s stocking decorating inexperience to make her look like the fuddy-duddy.

Z: And what could possibly be more traditional than that?

She: I don’t think you have a real clear understanding of the word “tradition.”

Z: I think your use of the word “fuddy-duddy” explains it all.

She: No. Tradition is not fuddy-duddy. Tradition is something that brings you comfort, and keeps you rooted.

Z: But too much tradition can prevent you from finding something new, or can oppress you into empty ritual.

She: And too little tradition can leave you flighty and without meaning. Not to mention that it’s something our child seems to crave.

Z: Koss does love traditions, the few that we have.

She: He likes that you read The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve.

Z: And he usually seems happy and proud of our silly holiday cards instead of mortified.

She: He’s still pre-teen. His future is sure to be full of mortification.

Z: I do have a long and proud tradition of trying to mortify him.

She: Which he seems oddly impervious to. I’m a little sad that you haven’t continued your tradition of dressing in plaid and sandals with black socks every Father’s Day.

Z: I only have so much plaid, and it wasn’t getting the response I was looking for. Maybe I’ll reintroduce it in junior high school.

She: He’ll love that I’m sure. You and Koss do have the tradition of eating sugar cereals on your birthday.

Z: Which is a carryover from my own family’s tradition. That’s deep and historical. We’re a very sophisticated people.

She: Otherwise you’d eat Cocoa Puffs on a more regular basis.

Z: Cocoa Puffs without meaning are empty calories.

She: My family has a tradition of celebrating their birthdays for the entire birth month.

Z: I’m still not sure how that tradition hasn’t translated to you celebrating my birthday for a whole month.

She: It’s tradition. You wouldn’t understand.

Z: Huh?

She: I suppose we still get together with some portion of both our families for all the holidays. Always the first night of Hanukkah with my family, and always Christmas Day with yours.

Z: And we got married. There are not many things more traditional than that.

She: Sure — except that we got both of our fathers ordained out of the back of a Rolling Stone and had them perform the ceremony.

Z: That’s a good mix, then. We take the traditional, and we make it our own.

She: I guess. I still feel like it would be nice to have a few more traditions — even if they are ones that we discover ourselves.

Z: How about we start with me getting a full birthday month, too?

She: Easy there, Tradition Boy. We don’t have to go crazy all at once.

Z: Yes, dear.

— Share your family traditions with She and Z by e-mailing