Holiday Traditions

The weather starts to get crisp and cool and the leaves start changing color and the next thing you know the Holidays are around the corner.  This is the time of year when the streets come alive with holiday lights and people scramble to get their homes decorated.
I’m sure everyone enjoys the festivities and lights but there is more to it than pretty lights, we are taking part in traditions and rituals.
What is the value in these traditions and rituals?  Whether it’s lighting candles or baking your special Christmas cake, there is meaning to every tradition:
  • They bring people together and give you a sense of belonging.  It’s an opportunity for families and friends to spend time with one  another and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Traditions and rituals provide structure and consistency; otherwise our lives would be chaotic. Holiday customs as well as ordinary daily rituals provide a kind of foundation and structure and we find comfort in them. There is a sense of accomplishment when you successfully perform an activity, no matter how small.
  • They provide stability. Because the essence of traditions doesn’t change, we pretty much know what to expect, and we can count
  • on them being part of our lives. If your lifestyle involves a lot of change or travel, observing traditions can provide a sense of welcome stability.
  • They provide comfort and a sense of security. People prefer the known to the unknown. When life is challenging or you feel alone,
  • there can be a strong feeling of comfort in observing or taking part in these traditions.  I find it soothing to hear Christmas music and see the beautiful lights during this otherwise stressful season.
  • They allow you to be part of something bigger. Holiday traditions connect you with the past and with others of your culture making you feel part of a larger cultural experience.
  • They provide something to look forward to. The feeling of satisfaction and joy in taking part in traditions, for all of the reasons mentioned above, gives a reason to look forward to the holidays. That is, as long as you don’t get too stressed to enjoy them!
So enjoy the rituals and traditions that you take part in.
“To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” — Philip Andrew Adams
To me this says that we need comfort and reassurance as well as excitement and discovery. The holidays are a time to reconnect, become grounded, and enjoy taking part in familiar customs. At other times we may venture off in search of new adventures and the unknown. Both of these kinds of activities are needed and there is a time for each.
Stay tuned for the next newsletter to get all of my holiday recipe secrets!  

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