By: Kelly Halonen, MSW, RSW
As the holidays approach, so do holiday traditions. Some people may have a few that they practice, and others only one. They can range from going to church on Christmas Eve, watching your favourite holiday movie, making cookies, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and so much more. Whatever your tradition is, it is beneficial to have holiday traditions for several reasons.
Practicing family traditions that you did growing up can help you feel connected to your family, present and passed. You remember the times that you spent partaking in these traditions growing up, and it can help you feel closer to your family. Some traditions may also have historic roots that help connect you to your ancestors and what they would do for the holidays. Traditions can be used as a way to bring the family together to make memories and connect with each other. Growing up, I would always watch A Charlie Brown Christmas with my dad and sister. I knew that my dad loved watching the Peanuts growing up, and this became a shared interest and bond between the three of us as we watched this every Christmas. This is a tradition I now pass on to my husband and stepdaughter, and we can make new memories with the same tradition. Every time I watch that movie, I think about being little and watching it with my dad.
When you have that one tradition you love, you tend to look forward to it every year. The holiday isn’t complete until you practice that tradition. While you are partaking in that tradition, you feel happy, and after you have completed it, you feel more fulfilled. One tradition for me is making gingerbread cookies. I always look forward to making and eating them. I enjoy mixing the dough and cutting them into Christmas shapes. After I make them, I feel like I have completed another task that lets me know the holidays are here.
Holiday traditions can have spiritual or religious roots that can make you feel connected not only to those around but to your higher power as well. Others may be cultural and a way to make you feel connected to your culture and others who share it. Traditions are a way to celebrate, teach, and reinforce your values and identity. It can be a fun way to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next.
No matter what your tradition may be, it is important to take time to celebrate it. Even if you may not have any traditions, you can always create one that has meaning or just makes you happy. Holidays can prove to be stressful so why not take time to enjoy traditions as a way to relax and connect.
Fun Classic & New Traditions:
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