12 Holiday Joys, Joy 10 – Traditions

I really, really, really love traditions. My husband always teases me about wanting to make everything a tradition, and if we do something that we both enjoy, he says, “NOW IT’S A TRADITION!” Tradition is comforting to me. Traditions give me something to look forward to, something to prepare for (and we all know how much I love planning), and they help me remember and re-experience the warm, good, loving feelings I have felt throughout the years doing that same activity.

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As they do, traditions make me feel connected to something bigger than me. Mostly just my marriage, right now. I think part of why I’m so focused on creating traditions is because I’ve lost so many over the years. I am no longer part of the same faith I used to be, which means my holiday traditions have really shifted. (Some have stuck! I still drink sparkling apple cider and eat Oreos while decorating the Christmas tree.)

That means I have a relatively clean slate to make new ones. To make traditions that are a reflection of me, of my life, of my marriage and the life we’re building together. I will bring some traditions forward, but there is so much openness to be filled.

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Coffee cake and Swiss cheese — the taste of my childhood Christmas mornings. I added sharp cheddar, bacon, and freeze-squeezed-orange-juice-mimosas to make it our tradition.

In their simple, deceptively profound way, traditions make me feel like I am part of a family. Like I have a family. Like this life is not just for others, but is mine, too, and a larger family will be part of that one day. Traditions are hopeful, bringing some of the best parts of our past into our present and projecting them into the future. They are little islands of joy. Of course they can become oppressive, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced the pressure to do something just because “we’ve ALWAYS done this! Do you want to ruin Christmas?!” But those people can pound sand. Traditions are meant to be held with light hands, open to modification as people grow and love, and treasured as fleeting-yet-repeatable moments that provide links between very different times in our life. I love that rootedness, that sense of mineness about the trajectory of my life. And I love that others have that, too, in their own unique, perhaps strange-to-me, traditions.

So go out and celebrate (or start!) a tradition. Bring some intentional joy into your season and celebrate the richness of the life you have lived and what that means for how you can most fully celebrate the holiday season.

And Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating tomorrow. ❤

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