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Christmas 2009 was fast approaching. Having been married just over a year, I was thinking back to all of the Christmas traditions my family kept. Decembers included: making candy countdown chains , giving the 12 Days of Christmas to someone who needed it, writing and burning a letter to Santa Claus, moving Mary and Joseph one step closer to Bethlehem each day on our Nativity Advent, having a fancy Christmas Eve candlelight dinner, going to Temple Square, and making beignets on Christmas morning, to just name a few.
I didn’t want to possibly forget all of the holiday traditions that meant so much to me as a child and thought a blog would be a good place to keep track of all of them. So on December 1st, I created So Festive. It wasn’t anything fancy back then, but has since become a place for family traditions and other simple ways to celebrate life. Mostly I wanted a place to inspire others that they can celebrate simply and cheaply–for my mom did it with 7 children on a teacher’s salary!
Looking back, it may seem that we had more Christmas traditions that would probably ever seem possible to keep up. But those holiday traditions were incorporated into our daily living and they seemed to be a way of life rather than just another thing on our to-do list. (Because don’t we all have enough on our to-do-lists?) I wish I could ask my mom how she did it all. But I can’t. She passed away from cancer when I was 15–exactly another reason I wanted to record as much as I could before I forgot.
^Giving 12 Days of Christmas-one of our family’s favorite traditions
I bet she would tell me, however, that the traditions her and my dad chose to keep up were those that strengthened our family, created memories, were simple, and spread joy to others. They were traditions that brought happiness instead of hassle and smiles instead of stress. They were activities that we asked for again and again and we actually had fun doing them.
That is what traditions are all about.
In my opinion, I don’t think it’s the tradition that matters so much (although banging pots and pans on New Years Eve is pretty darn fun) as what the tradition means. Is there purpose behind what you are doing or are you doing it because you “should?” Because if you are keeping a tradition for traditions sake, maybe it’s not worth it.
But if the tradition is fun and you look forward to it, go for it!
^Yes, we still bang pots and pans. We are those neighbors 🙂
Many traditions I still keep up with my young family now are at times silly to for my husband, but I just can’t seem to let them go because of the connection I feel to my mother while we are doing that. Since she can’t be here to celebrate holidays or birthdays with us, traditions provide the way to stay connected to her and who she was. They create excitement for life and I don’t know about you, but you can never have too much excitement in life.
So yes, traditions matter. If you choose them wisely, they will create memories that last a lifetime.
As you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about traditions. They can strengthen families and create lasting memories.