Holiday Traditions ………..Are What You Make of Them!

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But don’t forget about the traditions that you started during the year! In this blog post, we will discuss some of our favorite holiday traditions and how you can easily create your own versions of them. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a specific holiday or just want to add a little something extra to your holiday celebrations, this post is for you. So read on and get ready to start planning your very own holiday traditions!

For a great many years, my husband and children and I lived in Washington DC.  My parent’s were living overseas, and my husband’s entire family lived in Texas. This meant regular family holiday dinners were not as often as we might like-especially since my husband spent the first part of his career in the private club industry.  

Holiday Traditions

Thanksgiving was a working day, and as such we spend that day eating at the club, so that dad could spend time with us aside from his managerial duties.  New Year’s Eve was the second busiest day of the year, which meant Christmas trips were short and sweet when they happened.  When they didn’t happen, our small family tradition was either to have steak and lobster on Christmas day, or else let the gourmand prepare diner. I can count the holiday meals I have cooked on less than two hands. Between the brunch and the presents, for almost 15 years my daughter and went o the movies, leaving the boys to have together time and I watch football.  We then returned to the traditional dinner above.

Eventually we moved to Germany, where we were really, really far from family (and only taking home leave every three years).  Add to that the fact that Thanksgiving is a uniquely American (and Canadian) tradition pretty much and culturally things were different. My church was equally divided amongst American and British Expats and local German Anglicans.  Each year the Friday prior to Thanksgiving, the Americans put on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – made more interesting by the fact that turkey is on of the four or five food items impossible to find in Germany  (along with American style cereal, maple syrup, chocolate chips, and liquid vanilla-they use powdered).  This of course was when those few Americans who had commissary privileges made a quick run. Most of my American friends were not government related, working in banking, business, or music and opera. 

The actual day itself was spent taking a four day weekend trip, completely eliminating the traditional Thursday and football meal. My daughter was experiencing her own overseas traditions while living in the Cayman islands.

Christmases in Europe were similar to those in the US in terms of the day itself-after you add warm German wine, a Christmas Market every day for a month and a few other things.  We were now three, with the day spent at home relaxing, followed by whatever sounded good to do that day. 

Fast forward to our return to the states. Living near relatives for the first time, meant large holidays-at both end.  My mother in law hosted fourteen people, we bought gift for fourteen people and a full day of celebration and food were had by all. One the one hand, this was a wonderful time for my adult (and almost adult kids) to experience the large family experience, and on the other hand, I was completely exhausted (and happy) at the end of the day.  Two days later we would head north to Denver to spend time with my family-a Christmas celebrated on New Year’s Eve in full force.

Now I live in Denver with a daughter still living in Dallas.  She has started her own traditions and that is as it should be. One year she and her boyfriend spend in Dallas with her dad’s family and i travel the alternating year she travels o her boyfriend’s family.  This is as it should be. Some traditions stay, some end and some change.  Someday, i can see myself taking a cruise on Christmas or settling in on the gulf coast beach, or spending the holidays in Germany, or even being the guest of my children. It’s all good.

 One of my close knitting pals is celebration “the new tradition” as she calls it. She is hosting Thanksgiving, and the “other” parents are hosting Christmas this year-the children do not travel to multiple houses, and next year the positions will be reversed.  Rather than looking sadly on this, she and her husband are spending a week on the beach in Hawaii-experiencing a completely new tradition and looking  forward to it.

However you are spending your Thanksgiving or Christmas, whatever you are doing, as long as it works for you, that’s okay.  Whether you are spending the holiday skiing (I forgot about the year we did that), allowing your adult children to take over holding the holiday, spending it as alone as a couple, or any other alternative-embrace it. Keep some old traditions, embrace a few new once and remember that life is as they say, an adventure.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, celebrating a special anniversary, or indulging in a festive meal, each holiday is unique and special in its own way. What matters most is how you choose to celebrate – whether you choose to follow traditional norms or make your own traditions. The important thing is to enjoy the holidays and savor every moment – it’s all about making memories that will last a lifetime.

If you have any comments or suggestions about what we should write about next, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of holiday traditions?

Holiday traditions have a significant role in forging close ties within families and within our community. They enable us to communicate our values and sense of belonging. They help us commemorate past family generations and connect us to our history.

What are the most common holiday traditions?

1. Dress up the tree.
2. Create holiday cookies.
3. Send Santa (and the reindeer!) a note.
4. Observe the sparkling lights, then construct a gingerbread house.
5. Sing Christmas carols, trade presents, and so on.
6. Put on a hideous sweater.

Why start a tradition?

Family members might trust one another more because of established traditions. These customs give families a regular opportunity to engage and lay a strong foundation. It’s a time to connect generations and transmit cultural, social, or religious legacy.

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