Have you put all your decorations away and untrimmed your house for 2014? I know some people take their tree down the day after Christmas while others keep it up through the new year to maximize their enjoyment of the festive holiday season. Whether you do it early or late, now is a great time to jot down your favorite traditions!
Traditions are defined by a group of related ideas that have lasted for a long time. They are important to remind us of where we came from and give us a sense of belonging. During the holidays our food, gifts, music and even our households showcase our spiritual beliefs, family history and are reminders of what’s important to us. Traditions are a part of our family legacy. They reflect our upbringing and provide opportunity to share and honor treasured relationships.
As you reflect upon this past holiday season, think about the traditions you enjoy and document them. Make that one of your resolutions for this new year. Jot down your favorites and take pictures of the memorabilia and keepsakes. Recipes, ticket stubs, holiday cards and letters from friends can all be useful to share these traditions.
Then make a themed slideshow or album to highlight them. Bob Green’s book, “To Our Children’s Children” has a chapter on holidays and celebrations. He shares some thought provoking questions to help initiate conversations with family and friends. Traditions become like habits to those continuing them. Sharing their origin and the stories of how they got started are important for passing along their role in family legacy. For example, one year our family decided to look at Christmas lights after church. We didn’t have any extended family and were looking for an activity to fill the time till bedtime. It was so much fun that we decided to continue the tradition and have been enjoying this tradition for several years.
Tell the stories of how your family traditions began. Are they from your childhood? Did you create new ones once you moved out on your own? Ask your children what their favorite traditions are. Reading these stories each year can become a new tradition for next Christmas! If you want some help getting started contact me. We can create a plan for sharing your traditions.