Traditions are good for us. They provide and celebrate shared experiences and events which in turn provide an unspoken way of celebrating shared histories and strengthening bonds between family members, lovers and friends on a personal scale.
They make us feel part of a couple, a family, a neighbourhood or society. Traditions create and maintain communities. Traditions create an “us” and we share a life and a history. Although that also means they create a “them” as well; and traditions can lock “them” out of our group.
Traditions can be harmful to our group as well, especially when they’ve become stale, rigid or inappropriate. Instead of making us glad we are a part of the group – our family, our society – they make us feel trapped in a past we no longer want.
Family traditions like going home for Christmas can conflict with a young couple’s desires to celebrate in their own way in their own home, and develop their own traditions. Even worse, both sets of parents may expect them to visit on Christmas Day. Two families with that expectation put them in a position where they must choose one over the other.
So, maybe we need to keep our Christmas traditions fresh and adaptable to the changed circumstances of various family members and friends. It is possible to…
- adapt traditions to new circumstances like changes in ages of members, new relationships, changes in income
- drop obsolete traditions
- create new traditions to strengthen bonds in years to come.
without losing the best parts of our current Christmas traditions.
What are your treasured Christmas traditions and what traditions would you adapt or drop? What matters most? What would you really miss?