Monday, December 12, 2011

Traditions Old and New

Christmas traditions old and new,
what works for me may not work for you.
The important thing is we work together
to make memories that will last forever.
~ Stacy Coles

Christmas used to be my favorite time of year. Every neighborhood seemed so magical with Christmas lights bringing dark streets to life when the sun went down. Everyone seemed nicer and more willing to help those in need. The anticipation on Christmas Eve of the surprise that would be found under the tree the next morning used to make my heart burst with excitement. So, why do most adults seem to forget this sense of holiday magic?

It's called time! As we get older, we seem to take less time to enjoy the things that used to bring joy to our lives this time of year. Instead, we use all of our time scouring around trying to plan the perfect party, buy the perfect gift, and make everything perfect for everyone around us. And through it all, we forget to take the time to enjoy the holiday movies we grew up with, bake the holiday cookies that our moms used to make, or enjoy the magic that fills the air. 

This Christmas season, make yourself stop for a few minutes and think about three things you remember most about the holidays when you were younger. What made Christmas magic for you? What made you giddy with excitement? Between now and Christmas, make one (or all three) of those memories come alive again ~ for your family, now! Pull out an old recipe from your mom's recipe book (make a few phone calls ~ someone will have it). Send Christmas cards to a few families from your old neighborhood. Think of the joy on their faces when they receive some holiday cheer from you! My favorite Christmas memory was going caroling with our neighbors on a flatbed pick-up truck filled with hay bails to sit on. We drove through the streets, snuggled in blankets, singing carols. Most of us didn't know all the words, and the rest sang off key. After our toes were numb, we would all cram into my mom's humble kitchen and dining room for chili, bread sticks and hot chocolate. Thinking about that now, I honestly don't know how that many people fit into such a cozy area. But the memory is still just as cozy!

I haven't been able to talk my family into continuing this tradition quite yet, but my kids know the holiday classic, "It's A Wonderful Life," within seconds of any scene. Yes, the old black-and-white films are one tradition I insist on so my family can say they've been cultured!

Family traditions might change over time. The important thing is to make memories that will last a lifetime. Incorporate favorites from both your upbringing and those from your spouse's childhood. Use the ones that work for your family and have fun making new ones.

Christmas is still my favorite time of year. Although time seems like a rare commodity these days, taking the time to recognize precious moments and cherish new traditions might allow for time to slow down a little bit this holiday season. You can't find the holiday Spirit if you don't take the time to look for it.

Family Traditions
Christmas Traditions