Old & New: Continuing and Creating Holiday Traditions

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Author: Kate Nusbaum

Published: December 01, 2022

 

 
 

Hanging ornaments on the tree. Cheering for your favorite football team with snacks thrown everywhere. Baking cookies and frosting them in a dozen different colors. Watching your relatives excitedly exchange and unwrap presents. These activities, these events, they all have a specific place in our hearts for a reason: they are traditions. Whether you’ve been doing these things for decades, or just started practicing them a year ago, traditions bring a sense of familiarity and togetherness that simply can’t be created any other way. This holiday season is all about embracing our older, more practiced traditions while creating brand new ones to carry into future holidays with loved ones. Old or new, traditions are a beautiful way to celebrate the season with your closest friends and family.

 

 
 

Do you have any traditions in your family that are done ‘just because?’ An event or activity that takes place, but you don’t really know why? If you were to ask your relatives (perhaps an older sibling, an aunt or uncle, or even a grandparent), there’s a good chance you could find the original story behind why the tradition is still practiced today. It could be something as simple as a board game night, or as a complex as an intricate family recipe. These older traditions all stem from a fond memory, a shared experience that was too amazing to only happen once. An instance that was so special, it needed to be shared with present and future loved ones to connect with the past. That’s what tradition is: memory. An instance that brings people together, and the desire to continue experiencing that togetherness for many years after. 

 

 
 

Some of these older traditions that are practiced today have been around for many, many years: why would we want or need to create new ones? Yes, older customs are a wonderful way to bring people together, but some friends or family may want to create brand-new memories of their own. Have you ever experienced the excitement of retelling a story that you were part of? The eagerness of recreating a special event that’s still fresh in your mind? New traditions connect the present and future memories together, while older traditions remind us of past events and stories. 

 

 
 

That is why it is so hard putting into words something that is second nature. You’re so accustomed to these events, they’re so engrained in you. Until you realize: that’s the whole point. It’s the familiarity, the safety, and the comfort that makes these traditions so important. That’s why we continue to practice older traditions and continuously create new traditions. There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season than by remembering our favorite past memories, recreating them, and making brand-new stories of our own to share with our present and future loved ones. This time of year holds a special place in our hearts – with traveling long distances, to visiting loved ones that you haven’t seen for months, and every tender moment that happens right at home, the holiday season is a time to be cherished and celebrated. Happy Holidays!