Right now, as I’m working on this post, it is less than two weeks’ before Christmas Day. In fact, in exactly two weeks from today, it will be Boxing Day and most of us will have finished gorging ourselves on turkey or some other delicacy, along with all the sweets and Christmas treats usually found during the season.
Nevertheless, as we progress through the Christmas season among the many words and phrases that pop up at this time of year happens to be the phrase “Christmas traditions.”
If there is one time that the word “tradition” sort of sticks out “like a sore thumb” it surely has to be during the Christmas season.
At its most basic level, Christmas overall is kind of a “traditional thing” and within that, it also includes many of the annual festivities surrounding the season.
In as much as Christmas and the Christmas season is a “traditional thing”, there also happens to be a multitude of family traditions that scores of us look forward to partaking in at some point leading up to Christmas and the New Year celebrations.
Some of these “family Christmas traditions” will be fairly common across the “family Christmas tradition” spectrum, while others are exceedingly unique to each individual family or group of people.
Regardless of whether the traditions are relatively common or as a “beyond anyone’s comprehension type of unique”, why are Christmas traditions important and what are traditions at their most basic level.
Why Are Christmas Traditions Important?
First of all, there is no “cookie-cutter” outlines or “pdf booklet” to download for what defines a family Christmas tradition of:
- what the tradition should look like or be
- who you should share it with
- how it should grow and continue
And that’s the wonderful thing about “family Christmas traditions.” They can be whatever you want them to be. Whatever and however it fits your family; your lifestyle; what fits you. The tradition(s) can be of the common variety, such as cutting or searching for the perfect Christmas tree; an afternoon baking Christmas cookies or driving around looking at Christmas lights in the neighbourhood. Or perhaps it is something very unique to your family.
The bottom line is it doesn’t really matter what your particular “family Christmas traditions” are. It simply matters that they are yours.
**They Are Important Though**
But, they are important, because family traditions create a sense of comfort and belonging that ties a family and people together in something bigger than themselves.
Traditions, nurture and strengthen family connections and create positive memories for children and all family members for that matter.
And if we think about it for a moment, “family Christmas traditions” are generally seen as something enjoyable; something we look forward to. Many of our “family traditions” tend to focus around social activities, such as get-togethers; food; drinks and other fun endeavours such as going to cut down a Christmas tree.
When Lynn was a young girl, her family usually spent Christmas day at her grandparents in a small hamlet in southern Grey County. Lynn mentioned that for the life of her, she can’t remember any of the presents she received at Christmas for the entire number of years they spent Christmas with her grandparents.
But, what she did remember were the traditions. The candy dishes placed strategically throughout the house; where the Christmas tree was placed downstairs and decorated each year. The list of memories comes on and on.
Often it is never the present we received eighteen years ago that gets etched in our memories, but it is the traditions and the strong family connections and bonds that do become a fixture that we look forward to each Christmas season.
“Family Christmas traditions” are a constant found in a world that for many of us spins wildly out of control. A world that can create high stress and results in our lives being far busier than it needs to be.
However, being that “familiar constant” we look forward to during this time of year, “family Christmas traditions” are more often than not, the one thing(or perhaps you may have several traditions) that causes us to “put the brakes on the craziness of living” if for only an afternoon.
It is those traditions that make us slow down and savour time spent with family and friends. They help to keep us grounded and focused on the things and people that are truly important to us.
This may very well be the most important point in the entire post.
“Family Christmas traditions” are not entities that can exist outside of the family; outside of us. In other words, “family Christmas traditions” will not exist; they cannot exist or preserve themselves, without the energy found within families; couples; people.
Let me repeat that!
“Family Christmas traditions” cannot exist or preserve themselves, without the energy found within families; couples; people.
“Family Christmas traditions” cannot exist in and of their own volition. They are not something that can be purchased outright on a shelf at a local big-box store. You may buy that little thing that presses “star cookies” out of cookie dough, but that isn’t the tradition.
Regardless of their makeup or their origins “family Christmas traditions” are always something that has been created and nurtured by – people; by families.
That is why “family Christmas traditions” are so vitally important.
Big or small, elaborate or simple in nature “Christmas traditions” often is the cement that bonds families and friends together at this time of year. That time spent together within the “orbit of the tradition” helps to remind us that although life changes and moves along according to some grand plan, there is always good to be found.
Traditions in a way anchor us to something. It tells us that we are part of something bigger and more important. That life isn’t simply about us.
Go out today and get crazy with whatever traditions you and your family celebrate. Even better, why not create a whole new and memory creating tradition, that you, your children and grandchildren will talk about years down the road.
Doing that will end up being the very best and most heartfelt Christmas present ever…..
In your family, what are your “family Christmas traditions?”
Those things or activities that if they don’t happen, make it feel that something is missing. A little less “Christmas like.”
— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —