On the Winter Solstice, my friend Jan Haas mentioned her family getting together to celebrate the day. I said to her, “You really could teach me a thing or two about rituals and traditions.”
Over the following days, I realized that was what I missed most about being home for the holidays: Christmas Eve at my parents, eating too many cookies, watching my nephews rip open their gifts, visiting both sets of grandmothers on Christmas Day, seeing cousins who I haven’t seen all year, and so on.
Even though being home during this time a year means running from house to house to visit family on a tight schedule, a more chaotic holiday, and perhaps extra stress from traveling, it’s tradition. The same way my mother’s sweet potato casserole seems to taste better than anyone else’s. The same reason your favorite dish never tastes the same and just doesn’t feel like the “holidays” without it.
Since I live so far from home, it made me realize it’s time to continue on and create new rituals and traditions for myself. What will they be? Only time will tell, but the most important part is to have them.
Rituals and traditions keep our sense of community alive. They help us see we belong to something greater than ourselves. They help us recognize that time is passing. They help us honor our growth. They are reasons to celebrate. All of which, we don’t seem to do enough of.
What traditions and rituals do you love and cherish?
What new traditions or rituals can you add to your life?
How can you build a sense of community for love and belonging to your family?
Even the little traditions matter. For me, I look back with gratitude on decorating cutout cookies every Christmas with my mom, watching the Wizard of Oz and the Sound of Music with my family every year, finding the Easter baskets my mom used to hide, and Sunday morning pancakes as a kid. When I look back, I see these rituals and traditions are some of the happiest times in my memory bank.
I’d love to hear about your traditions and rituals, leave me a comment here.