Monday, December 08, 2008
Creating Your Own Traditions
We always invite my mother over to spend Christmas morning with us. A couple of years ago, as my children opened their socks and pulled out the apples and oranges inside, my mother said, “Now, kids, you’d better eat everything in your socks because your mommy’s not cooking breakfast today.” My little five-year-old’s eyes filled with tears.
You see, in my home of origin, my mother hated making breakfast on Christmas. She’d put fruit and nuts in our socks, and that was our morning meal. However, I enjoy making breakfast. I think having something warm and hearty to eat helps set the tone for the day. My children had gone to the store with me and they saw me buy hot chocolate mix and orange juice to supplement the meal. Now, to be told I wasn’t making it? What a disappointment!
I explained to my mother I actually had every intention of making Christmas morning breakfast, I didn’t mind, and I enjoyed it. This was so different from her own experience, she was quite flabbergasted. But she did knock back her own fair share of cocoa.
When we establish a home of our own, we determine which traditions we’re going to bring with us. Your spouse also grew up with traditions that might differ from yours, and so there’s some compromise that goes on. With any luck, the two of you will decide which traditions fit best with this new family you’ve created, and you’ll stumble upon some of your own, as well. The trick is to carry on the traditions that fit you and your situation, not those you feel duty-bound to perform because that’s how it’s always been done.
You’ll also find refinements to old traditions. Your children will share with you their fond memories from the years before, and you’ll know which activities were hits and which were merely a drain on time and resources.
It’s wonderful to carry on traditions from one generation to the next. But we should choose with care just how we’ll implement them. The most important traditions are those of kindness, charity, selflessness, and a feeling of worship at this holiday season. As long as those things are manifest, it really doesn’t matter whether you do or do not make Christmas morning breakfast. Everything else is just icing on the cinnamon rolls.
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