Traditions celebrate beliefs, customs

Dmytro Banin is one of many members of Scout troop 626 who sell Christmas trees each year in Newport Hills. - Courtesy photo
Dmytro Banin is one of many members of Scout troop 626 who sell Christmas trees each year in Newport Hills.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By Dmytro Banin

I have been a scout in Bellevue Troop 626 for the past three years. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, I get up in the morning and I know the Holidays are coming. You can tell the whole city is in a festive attitude and by then you know that snowy days are just around the corner.

That's also the day our Christmas tree lot opens and the smell of pine and hot apple cider fills the air.

I start to see familiar faces appearing, people I have seen last year and a year before that. These are the people who have been coming to our tree lot for years and to them it’s more than just buying a Christmas tree.

For them this is a tradition. I hear them tell me stories of how they used to come here with their mother or father to get the tree for Christmas and now they are coming with their children to get one of their own. I also hear people talking to my parents about their grown-up kids – former scouts of our Troop 626 and they will share some experiences on what is more challenging in tree sales – freezing cold or pouring rain.

For most of my life, I’ve had a plastic tree go up during Christmas and be packed away in a cardboard box when the holidays were over. And then one day I asked myself, why does the same old thing happen time and time again? Why do we never try anything different?

I posed this question to my mom and I learned that it went against her family tradition to have a real live tree for Christmas. At that time in Ukraine they did not have Christmas tree farms – and cutting trees was in some way destroying the forest. She even taught me a little poem her grandfather wrote about a rabbit that will have nowhere to escape from wolves and foxes should we cut all trees to have fun for Christmas.

After hearing that told to me, that “same old, boring plastic tree” suddenly had meaning to it. It was part of my family’s tradition and that was what was important.

That question I asked myself helped me understand why those people kept coming back year after year to buy trees from my troop. Coming here to us and buying a tree from the scouts was to them a tradition that they followed year in and year out. And that tradition had importance and meaning behind it.

Tradition is not doing things just because you’ve always done things this way. Tradition is doing what’s important to you and your culture; it celebrates your beliefs and customs that have been passed down through the generations.


Dmytro Banin is a Life Scout in Troop 626 and a freshman at Newport High School. Troop 626’s tree lot is located at Newport Hills Swim and Tennis Club, 5464 119th Ave. SE, Bellevue. Now in its 30th year, the tree sale is the troop's only fundraiser.


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