Traditions. The holidays in particular bring traditions to the forefront.
There are traditions that we grow up with and those that we create for ourselves.
This is the time of year when I hear comments that use the word ‘always’ when people talk about their holidays.
“We always go to my mother’s, grandmother’s, (or fill in your own friend or relative), for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Chanukah.”
“We always have a particular meal.”
“We always open our gifts in the morning or the evening.”
“We always go to the movies.”
“We always donate our time, money or items to our favorite charity.”
For me Christmas is the holiday when I have traditions that mean the most to me. I think it’s because Christmas is the holiday that has the most meaning for me. I love the religious meaning even though I don’t practice a traditional religion anymore. I love the whole idea of giving to others to make this a better world.
One tradition I have continued practicing since childhood is baking certain cookies only at Christmas.
When I was growing up my mother baked wonderful cookies that we only had at this time of the year. One of the recipes was given to her from my paternal grandmother and is still a family favorite. These are called Butterhorns. Jelly-filled cookies are also baked every year. I’ve kept up with the tradition of baking these every year and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
A tradition that I started myself is to eat those cookies when I get up Christmas morning while opening gifts. The rest of the day is always (there is that word!) spent with family and friends relaxing, eating, enjoying our new gifts and each others’ company. The day is sprinkled with many phone calls and texts wishing happy holiday to our distant friends and relations.
This year my daughter who now has a house of her own, baked the cookies. My son baked them last year at his place. Knowing that this tradition will continue makes me very happy.
Traditions hold everything together. There is a continuity in doing them and thus a sense of contentment. Is this why we need them? Is this why they are so comforting? Is it because the world is always changing and we find comfort in something familiar? Something we can count on?
I know this post has focused mainly on Christmas, but I’m curious to hear about other holidays and the traditions you celebrate and why.
What holiday traditions do you keep every year? Why are they important to you? Have you started your own?
No matter what you celebrate, I wish you the best and may your favorite traditions continue.