The Meaning of Tradition

When you think about it, traditions are more than just about putting a new ornament on the tree every year, having lemon-filling cake for birthdays, and watching the same TV specials and movies every season. Traditions are about memories, creating something special between you and the person or people participating, and often, finding something that is stable and always there, no matter how far apart you are, or if you’re mad at each other, or if you’re not really in the mood.

There are some traditions I enjoy with my family around Christmas that I continue to look forward to each year:

-Drinking coffee while opening gifts and then eating Dad’s pancakes
-Watching It’s a Wonderful Life and A Muppet Christmas Carol
-Going to see A Christmas Carol at Playhouse in the Park in Cincinnati
-Exchanging gifts with my mom’s family in Louisiana
-Getting amazing candy from my Aunt Kay

This year, some of these traditions aren’t happening for various reasons. After 16 years of seeing A Christmas Carol, we aren’t going this year because we don’t like the new Scrooge and some other changes to the play. We’re not going to Louisiana this year, and so therefore I won’t get any candy from my Aunt. I tried to make candy this year: pralines and peanut butter fudge. Definitely not the same as hers or my grandfather’s, but I was trying to carry on a tradition. Receiving gifts in a box from the Roussels isn’t the same as hanging out with 70+ people, drinking, laughing, talking too loud and reminiscing, and soon after, looking forward to returning home.

Traditions are rooted in our everyday lives as well. My parents and I said hello, goodbye, and goodnight every single day as I grew up. There was no going to bed angry. There were times I hated it and just wanted my space for one night, but later on, I realized how important it was to say I love you and get that hug and kiss in…just in case. I still do that with them, and it means a lot. I do it with my boyfriend too, even if we get in a fight on the phone. It just reminds me that things are ok, despite a bad moment.

When I get to work, I put down my bag, turn on the computer and get my coffee. I like to settle in and chat with a coworker before I get started- it’s my thing to get the day going. When I get home, I work out, shower, eat dinner and relax. Some might think boring, but I think comfort. It’s what keeps me going, even when I’ve had a bad day.

There are so many little or big things that can ruin our day, whether it was a fight with a friend or loved one, a bad day at work, missing the bus, or our favorite team losing a big game. Despite that, I think it’s important to maintain these mini traditions to keep things real and in the present. You can’t get back the times you sulked or were mad, and you can’t change what happened, so why dwell on it? I often find myself thinking about things over and over again…but then I realize that doing that won’t change things, so what’s the point? And there isn’t any reason to take it out on anyone else- it’s not their fault.

Do you have any traditions, big or small? How much do they affect your everyday life?

One thought on “The Meaning of Tradition

  • jenna-

    it is weird how similar life can be sometimes… my family traditions went unchanged my entire life…this year we didn’t have xmas dinner…didnt go to my dad’s family on xmas eve…. didn’t watch white xmas and eat haggis with my grandfather…. and soon it is going to be even more different with getting married and such. sometimes i hate growing up. i miss talking… when should i make it out to dc?

    -ian

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