A tradition is defined as a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.
Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today, and who we are likely to become.
The holidays can bring joy or dread for some people, but family traditions can help make them more enjoyable. Some folks go home for the holidays just hoping to survive, paying attention to their phones or TV to avoid conflicts with family. When dealing with grief or depression during the holidays it can make it hard to want to be in the same room with others. Whatever the ritual is, and no matter how small, a tradition can really bring people closer to one another.
There is a reason why holidays are celebrated year after year and traditions are kept from generation to generation. If it wasn’t fundamentally important to the human spirit to keep cultural celebrations consistent and meaningful, we might be inventing new holidays each year. I think part of the reason we value tradition is because it binds us to both the past and the future. Looking back in history books and family photo albums, we see pictures of people celebrating holidays, in similar ways as we do today.
· Traditions contribute a sense of comfort and belonging, that bring families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
· Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
· Tradition enables us to showcase and celebrate diversity and unite us as a country.
· Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
There is something rich and meaningful about doing things the same way year after year. While there is change and uncertainty throughout the year, traditions during the holiday season remain something to look forward to. Growing up, as far back as I can remember on Christmas Eve we would go to my Meme and Papa’s house after church and have a huge dinner. My Papa would always make Scottish Eggs. If you have never had them, they consist of a soft or hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or deep-fried. And let me tell you, they are AMAZING! There has yet to be a Christmas Eve without eating those eggs, and my Papa is 85. After we ate our dinner, either my aunt or myself would play Silent Night on the piano. Bet you all had no idea I even knew how to play the piano! Still to this day we do it all. I just love that I am able to have a son that I can share these wonderful traditions with. I can pass them down to him so that when he gets older, he can share them with his own family. It’s never too late to start traditions either. It gives us and our children something to look forward to. As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to use every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear to us.
Over the next month, as holiday music plays from radio stations and shopping centers and calendars fill up with ugly sweater parties, take a minute to enjoy partaking in tradition. Don’t forget to take a picture to look back on someday.
What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?