Christmas Countdown Day 41: Focus on Traditions

Christmas. For many of us, our picture of this holiday is a static one: we've "always" done this or we "always" do that.

Indeed, that idea of tradition and stability and connection is one of the deepest and most meaningful themes of the holiday!

I make Aunt Bill's Brown Candy or Mim's Texas Pralines because my mother did, my grandmother did, my great-grandmother did.

Celebrating that connection is wonderful, but don't let it blind you to the very real fact that Christmas also changes.

If I compare our current Christmas celebrations to my childhood holidays, I find that today's rejoicing is longer, faster, more intense and more expensive. Not better or worse, but different.

This is, I humbly submit, as it should be. Children grow. Families change. On growing older, many of us explore new spiritual depths, finding meaning in different places.

And, yes, it means that while I treasure my copy of a candy recipe that is written in my great-grandmother's hand, I also know that modern cooks needed the transliteration I provided a few years ago.

Where Granny Hawk measured sugar in pounds, I measure in cups. Where grandmother Mim cooked her pralines over the stove, mine get made in the microwave.

Times change, and so do holidays. Be of good cheer! Christmas has room for both tradition and novelty, and no one need feel constrained from Christmas innovation.

But I really have to wonder whether my grandchildren will treasure my old 5 1/4-inch floppy disk, containing updated recipes for grandmothers' favorites ...

To Do Today

Prepare household traditions

What's tradition in your household? Today's the day to prepare.

Bring out the family's favorite holiday books, music and movies. Display holiday collections, and prepare to track new acquisitions with a Holiday Collections inventory form.

Does your family give each child an annual ornament? Use an Ornament Journal inventory page to list each year's special ornaments.

Looking for a new tradition? Try the You've Been Elfed game to bring seasonal fun to neighbors or co-workers.

Learn about other traditions

The holiday season isn't just Christmas, hard as that can be to realize in our go-go consumer economy. Other nations, races and ethnic groups have fruitful and fascinating holiday traditions that also enrich this season of the year. This holiday season, learn more about Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and holiday celebrations of other countries.

Open the doors, and bring new dimensions of the holiday season to your family. The world is wide and large and full of goodness to share. What better time to rejoice with the whole world?

To Read Today

Holiday traditions don't have to be expensive! Try these no-cost, low-cost ways to celebrate with children:

Low-Cost, No-Cost Ways to Celebrate with Children

To Print Today

Holiday Collections

Ornament Journal

Holiday Collections
Ornament Journal

Holiday Plans: