Why I Love This Time of Year!
I love this time of year—the leaves are beautiful, the mornings are brisk, and the holidays are approaching. This time of year also brings another of my favorite past times…eating holiday food! Of course, the holidays are about much more than food. I love the holiday traditions—the family gatherings, the magic of giving, the joys of sharing. In today’s world of constant rush and activity, we have lost sight of many of these traditions and their benefits. Writing about this subject, William Doherty noted that “we reinvented family life in the twentieth century but never wrote a user’s manual.” Family has become disjointed and disconnected. But, this time of year can help us reconnect. In fact, in his family user’s manual, “Intentional Families,” Dr. Doherty explained how rituals and traditions hold our families together. Traditions make a family strong. The traditions we practice provide our family with an identity. They teach our children the family values. They pass on our religious and cultural heritage. The activities involved in our traditions tell the story of our family history. It is through celebrated traditions that we pass on the value of family support, establish an identity as a family that celebrates life, and create a culture of gratitude. We can add to this list…anything from the value of trusting God to the grace of giving to the joyous celebration of family competition in your favorite game. It all grows more secure and remains strong through the generations as we practice our family traditions.
Our traditions also provide our children with a sense of security and comfort. Traditions are predictable. They happen on a regular basis and occur in similar ways each time we celebrate. The predictability of traditions informs our children that no matter how the world changes…no matter if our family struggles…no matter the changing stages of life, we still celebrate our traditions together. We remain a family, connected through our intentional celebration of tradition. As these traditions are celebrated over time, generations come together. We celebrate our traditions with parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We celebrate across the generations. And, generational involvement is associated with fewer emotional and behavioral problems in children…once again, a benefit for traditions.
One of the benefits I associate with traditions involves the creation of lasting memories. If you are like me, some of your favorite memories probably revolve around traditions…whether it be the Monopoly game at Christmas time or the laughter erupting from a joke at Thanksgiving. I love to remember time with my family—laughing, playing, talking, cooking, reading out loud, eating, and so much more! Those joyous, lasting memories contribute to a lifetime of happiness.
Yes, I love this time of year as family traditions take center stage and we celebrate our lives together. I hope you take the time to celebrate together, establish strong traditions, and begin a lifetime of happy memories!