What is a tradition? The definition of a tradition is a belief or custom passed down from one generation to the next. I believe it is more than that. I believe that traditions are an integral part of who we are as a family as well as an individual.
Traditions are important to creating memories and family stories like the ones the family elders tell at the holidays. How is it that holiday traditions come about in a family? Who starts them and how do they get passed down?
Holiday traditions are sometimes created out of habit. Like the young husband and wife that use the same decorations every year in the beginning of their married life because that is all they have. Then later when they have kids, they use the same things because the memories of the previous years are too precious to let go.
Sometimes Christmas traditions are family bound, such as going to Catholic Mass, having a family gathering, or throwing a Christmas party on Christmas Eve.
In my home, we have hors d’oeuvres Christmas Eve dinner every Christmas Eve. It is something my mom and dad always did and I looked forward to it every year. Now as an adult, I still make the hors d’oeuvres every Christmas Eve and my family invites who ever might not have somewhere to be on the holiday.
So, how do you start a tradition for the holidays for your family? Chances are you already have and just haven’t realized it yet. Do you have a certain color scheme for your Christmas decorations? Do you always put out the nativity scene somewhere in your house?
If you haven’t found yourself falling into any sort of a tradition or you are just baffled as to where to start, let me give you a few ideas.
Start by selecting Christmas decorations that you like. That includes everything from your tree to lights to your yard decorations. Whatever it is you like. It is better in the beginning to pick a few good quality items that you will use every year and add a couple new ones each year. Make sure to buy good storage containers to protect your holiday treasures.
If you have children, even if this is their first Christmas ever, read a favorite Christmas story. My dad used to read T’was the night before Christmas every year. It is a cherished memory for me. Leave out a snack for Santa and his reindeer.
Play Santa Claus even if all the people in your home are grown, it is a fun tradition. All my kids are grown and still Santa comes every year. There is always a stocking for everyone in the house that year. It is a fun surprise Christmas morning.
If you like to send Christmas cards, try getting family picture Christmas cards made every year or make them yourself on your computer. If you have kids, this is a great way to keep the family updated.
The family Christmas meal is also a good way to start a tradition. Making a special meal that the family looks forward to on the holidays is a good way to create a family tradition as well as wonderful memories.