Traditions, especially during the winter holidays, are a significant part of our culture. For many of us, traditions bring a sense of connection and comfort. They represent consistency and hold great meaning and purpose. But how do we keep a tradition alive when things are ever-changing?
My favorite holiday tradition is watching the holiday lights. The fondest memories I have during this time of year include driving around my neighborhood and looking at the holiday lights while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. I can still remember the excitement I felt as a child getting into the car while my parents planned out the best houses to go see. Every year, my parents would drive us around town and park outside beautifully decorated homes with lights, ribbons, garlands, and even music. My brother and I would press our heads on the car window to get a better view, and we couldn’t have cared less about the coldness of the night. If you were to ask me back then, every house we saw was a masterpiece. We were together, and we were happy.
Although time has changed many things in my life, I have continued this tradition. Although I may never be able to recreate one of those car rides, every year I drive around town looking at holiday lights and cherish those memories while making new ones. The friends and family who accompany me each year may vary, but this tradition will always represent a moment of peace and wonder. Change is inevitable, but traditions can evolve and adapt just like we do. I have made this tradition my own.
Losing traditions or changing them can be difficult, and it is normal to feel sad or disappointed when this happens. Reinvent a tradition or create your own. Every tradition must start somewhere, right? Here are some examples of meaningful traditions my friends and family have shared with me:
- Volunteer your time for a good cause, such as a food pantry.
- Write a gratitude letter each year and hang it on the tree as a reminder of all our blessings.
- Host a video call with family and friends who are away for the holidays and show off your ugly sweaters.
- Decorate a live tree or plant instead of a traditional tree.
- Create your own tree ornaments with craft supplies we already have at home.
- Do something nice for a stranger and spread the joy.
Regardless of how you choose to spend this time, I hope you find a sense of connection and comfort this holiday season.