Think back to the holidays of your childhood and try to recall the gifts you received. If you’re like most people, you only remember a very special few. What you probably recall is the traditional food you ate, the visits to family and friends, and the games you played with your cousins. With that perspective, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the holiday traditions you create, than on the gifts you plan to buy? After all, memories are the best gifts you can give to your children, and even to your grandchildren, as those traditions pass down through the generations.
Holiday traditions – indeed all family traditions – are built around beliefs and values. They represent expressions of love, hope, and solidarity. When the holidays come around, ritual and tradition take on larger-than-life significance. You can establish traditions deliberately. Talk to your spouse, your parents, and your siblings and decide what is most important to you.
If you decide that midnight mass on Christmas Eve is a tradition you want to establish, start when the children are young. If you decide to make Hanukkah gifts every year, encourage the children to do so from a young age.
You may decide that it’s important to get together with grandparents and cousins on Christmas Day or the last night of Hanukkah. On the other hand, you may feel it’s more in keeping with your expectations to celebrate these times at home with only your immediate family.
You can arrange a special day or event during the holidays to connect with the extended family or close friends. This could be a skating party, a movie night, or an afternoon get-together to exchange gifts, play games, or enjoy a casual meal.
Some holiday traditions remain static from year to year. Young adults still expect their parents to celebrate the holidays as they remember. Nevertheless, it’s human nature for change to make its mark on even the most entrenched traditions. People move, families grow, grandparents age. Cookie decorating and notes for Santa may go by the wayside for a number of years – but chances are they will resurface with the next generation of youngsters.
Modified traditions can be just as meaningful to families. They evolve naturally from earlier ones, reminding us of that the passage of years does not mean the erosion of the family.
Being able to change with the times indicates a strong, centered, and involved family. A smaller tree, fewer folks around the holiday table, or Christmas or Hanukkah celebrated in a warmer climate does not erase the meaning of these holidays.
Holiday traditions make sense of these frantic days. They allow everyone alike to take stock, remember what is important, and enjoy the season. You don’t need to have a lot of ideas, money, or even a lot of your own family traditions to draw on. With a little thought and care, you can create your own holiday traditions that will be joyful and meaningful.
Activity for Today:
One tradition during this time of the year for quite a few is watching holiday movies. Test your holiday movie knowledge by taking the Christmas Movie Trivia Quiz.
Below are some websites that can give you ideas on some holiday traditions:
Mark on your Calendar:
A tradition you enjoy this time of year and what your Christmas Movie Trivia Quiz Score was.