The Importance of Holiday Traditions
by Joanne Troppello
According to a recent poll as reported in Fox News, “52% of Americans recreate childhood holiday traditions.” Traditions are important. Holiday traditions are especially important since they help balance the old and the new in our lives.
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate this season, it’s important to celebrate traditions with your family and friends. Psychologist, Dr. Michele L. Brennan states that “traditions nurture our spirit and are an important part of family bonding.”
Why Holiday Traditions are Important
My husband had a very strict Italian nonno (grandfather) and he did not believe in making Christmas extravagant with the tree and presents. It was more about centering the holiday around the real reason for the season—Jesus being born.
Growing up, our family always set up the Christmas tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Many people I know do this as well.
I am continuing that tradition with my husband. However, we add our own twist to it. After celebrating Thanksgiving Day with his family and then with mine, we like to keep the day after just for us.
We put up our tree, decorate, and enjoy the time together while Christmas music is playing in the background and we’re drinking hot chocolate. Then we watch a Christmas movie.
Consider the following reasons why holiday traditions are important for you, your family, and friends.
1. Touching the Next Generation
There may be a tradition that so represents the values of your family that you want to instill that in your children and grandchildren—and continue the cycle of sharing those positive values.
My mom loved setting up the manger scene with large porcelain figures (that she painted) of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Wisemen, and the Shepherds.
My husband and I don’t have a nativity set yet, but we are saving up to get one.
It perfectly represents the true meaning of Christmas. That Jesus was born and then died to save the world.
When you share these traditions with your family, you are touching the next generation and impacting their future in a constructive way.
2. Strengthening Family Bonds
Celebrating traditions at the holidays gives you and your family members something to look forward to each year. It can strengthen the bonds that hold your family together.
Even if you don’t have any special traditions, simply getting together each year as a family is still a tradition to be cherished. Some people don’t get to see their family during the holidays. Maybe they are serving in the military or they might have work responsibilities. Others won’t see family because of rifts and unforgiveness.
Whichever situation you find yourself in, take a moment to feel blessed if you are able to spend time with family this year. Life is short and we don’t know how much time we have on this Earth with our loved ones. We should make every moment count.
I am speaking from experience. My husband and I have had rifts with family members. I don’t like conflict, but it is a part of life. Sometimes situations are not handled the right way.
However, we’ve seen God’s hand restoring these family relationships. Things are not as close as they used to be, but relationships are on the mend.
3. Clearly Defining Family Identity
Maybe your family has a cultural identity that you want to keep going and share with the next generation. When my mom was thirteen, she came to America from Holland with her parents, two brothers, and one sister.
In Holland, the Dutch people celebrate Christmas on December 5th. That is when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) comes to homes to bring treats and gifts for good boys and girls.
There are some similarities and differences between Sinterklaas and Santa Claus. For one thing, Sinterklaas is slim, and rather tall. He looks more like a bishop from the church than Santa. And he delivers his gifts with his assistant, Zwarte Piet, which means Black Peter. Now, that part is controversial, I know, but I’m simply sharing the Dutch traditions here.
When my mom’s family came to America, it was 1960 during the Cold War (1947-1991) and—for many people—WWII was still fresh in their minds.
My mother’s family was from Holland, not Germany. My Opa (grandfather) helped Jews escape from Holland and Germany to flee from the dangers of being taken by the Nazis to concentration camps. My Opa’s courage to help them always made me proud.
When my mother’s family came to America, many people called them Krauts and mistook them for Germans. Because of this treatment, my Opa and Oma made their kids learn English quickly and they all assimilated into the American culture. They all became US citizens.
I understood the reasons, but my sister and I were always sad that because of that treatment, my mom did not pass on many of her Dutch traditions to her kids until we were young adults.
My mother and stepdad have since joined the local Dutch club and bring the family to see Sinterklaas during the Christmas season. It has been nice to get to know our Dutch history and traditions now.
Some Holiday Traditions to Start
If you don’t have many traditions and want to start some this holiday season, consider the following ways to make things special with your family and friends:
Movie – Decide on a family favorite Christmas movie and watch it annually.
Cookies – Bake Christmas cookies each holiday season and bond as a family.
Gingerbread House – Start a new tradition of making a gingerbread house.
Caroling – Go caroling as a family or with your church or community group.
Church – Attend Christmas Eve service at your church or a local one.
Real Tree – Start cutting down a real tree for Christmas as a family outing.
Volunteer – Take the time to volunteer at the local soup kitchen.
Party – Host an ugly Christmas sweater party each year and invite friends.
Lights – Visit a local Christmas light display outside and drink hot cocoa.
It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home! Check out more ideas at Six Sisters Stuff.
Are there any holiday traditions that you and your family celebrate? Have you been inspired to start a new tradition for this holiday season with your family or friends?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.