In our busy lives today, it may seem a good idea to slow down a bit and let go of some of our family traditions. In essence, we should do exactly the opposite; we need these traditions to keep the foundation of our lives stronger. Our traditions are a true necessity in our lives; it is what helps keep the balance in our lives, and the foundation for everything we do.
As I look back over the years, my fondest memories are not about each day I go into work but of the many family gatherings we have had in relationship to birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving; or something as simple as sitting down as a family for dinner, turning off the TV, radio and no cell phones. These moments in time with family and friends are when we learn who we are and where we came from.
As I was getting out the boxes to transform our home for the holidays, so many of these special moments are unfolded as I open each box — treasures that only our family can really appreciate. The ornaments of Christmas past, each with a story in itself, some going back to my childhood, can bring a smile and for some, a special tear or two.
One of our traditions is setting up two Christmas trees: One that I like to decorate each season with some special theme, the other holds our memories. The past couple years, now that my children are entering adulthood, I decided not to set up our memory tree. It was one of those traditions that we used to do together as a family. It has felt like I was missing an old friend, unable to come home for the holidays. Now that I am a grandmother, I found I wanted to take out these memories again. Our memory tree is back, so comforting as I enter that area of our home.
For some of you who may be experiencing either a loss in your family, maybe a divorce or possibly have a new blended family or have become parents for the first time, these all can change the familiarity of the family unit of the past. Our traditions carried forward can make us all stronger while linking the past generations with the bright hopes of the future, assuming some new meaning for our need to communicate and understand our loved ones.
It is through our traditions for these special events in our lives that we continue to move forward, establishing healthy and meaningful purpose for each other, while still linking us to our past. Each of these events is what makes us who we are and creates our memories for tomorrow.
It seems today, with the world at our fingertips, we desperately need these traditions to honor our past generations and help us to stay grounded — reminding us that we are part of something larger than ourselves. It is through these holiday traditions we are reminded of our sense of belonging to something much larger than just today; but generations of traditions that give us a great sense of well being, our peace of belonging.
Having things that are familiar to us: special rituals, customs or something as simple as a Christmas tree, provide comfort in the ever-changing, fast-paced world we live in. As we are in the full holiday festivities, what are the traditions your families do each year? Go to our website, or Facebook page and share.
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Our list of favorite Christmas traditions we do each year:
- Santa cookies using Pillsbury sugar dough
- Drawing names for gift giving
- The Christmas tree hunt
- Watching “White Christmas” while decorating
- Cookie baking day
- My Mom’s fudge recipe
- Stockings on Christmas morning with cookies and coffee
- Mass on Christmas Eve
- Prime rib for Christmas dinner
See pictures and recipes on our Facebook