In the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle, holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and shopping, sits the traditions and values that glue our families together during this time of year.
Each year as we began the cycle of the holiday season, I am reminded of all the unique traditions celebrated by various people and cultures. As I child, I never fully understood the impact of tradition within our family, nor did I even recognize many of the traditions we did until years later, when I’d moved thousands of miles from home.
Now, I recognize the importance of these small traditions and the influence they have on our lives. The bonding moments shared over cutting out and decorating sugar cookies with your family has a special meaning, even if you don’t particularly like sugar cookies. These traditions seem more like rituals as the years go by and often it, “just doesn’t feel like Christmas (insert any holiday)” if all the traditions are not completed.
I didn’t grow up in a religious or spiritual family, so most of our traditions didn’t involve church or a place of worship, nor were they tied into a deeper meaning that was ever explained to me. We just made our family’s classic bishop bread every year, because we did. We always ate ham on Christmas and turkey on Thanksgiving. We always got a real Christmas tree. Some of these traditions I’ve kept up with, others I’ve adapted, and I’ve added some new things as well.
As the holiday months near, people get excited about the season. But it’s not the holiday that people crave; it’s the traditions that make the holiday season so magical. Traditions create significant memories for our lives. When traditions are incorporated into special moments, it solidifies our unity within our family, and even signifies what it often means to be a citizen of our country or a part of our religious affiliation.
The holiday season is a time that most of our country is in unity. We are bound together by the holiday lights strung on our houses, the Christmas trees lit in our living rooms, and the many gatherings that bring us all together. During this time, people are often more giving, kinder, and more considerate of others.
I encourage you to consider all the traditions you repeat every year, and if you don’t have any traditions, what can you incorporate into your holiday season? It is these rituals that help us to make sense of the world. Ironically, something as simple as rolling out sugar cookies can actually create a sense of security for you as it signifies the passing of time and another holiday season upon us.
What are the rituals and traditions you value most during this time of year? I’d love to hear. Share your traditions in the comments below.