August 10, 2022

Traditions add special touch to

Gift giving, family gatherings
and special meals have gone
hand-in-hand with holidays for generations. Aside from the general celebrations, most families have various traditions of their own. These added touches can do much to make a holiday more memorable.

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This archived article was written by: Lisa Anderson

Gift giving, family gatherings
and special meals have gone
hand-in-hand with holidays for generations. Aside from the general celebrations, most families have various traditions of their own. These added touches can do much to make a holiday more memorable.
Some traditions have been around for decades, helping to bridge the gap between parent and child. Many families have spent Christmas Eve gathered around the television, a warm cup of cider or eggnog in hand. They spend the evening watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together, a film that has long been known for making people appreciate the lives they have.
Television has been tied in with holiday traditions for some time. Parents and children will rush home from trick-or-treating on Halloween, eager to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”.
Some families can’t enjoy Thanksgiving without watching a football game after eating a meal with their family. It sounds simple, but that single game can bring a family together as much as the finest home-cooked meal beforehand, and a fresh pumpkin pie afterward.
Winter isn’t the only time for tradition though. There is no seasonal bar to a good holiday tradition. Many may think of Thanksgiving when it comes to watching a parade, but just as many may think of Easter.
When summer rolls around, many families look forward to a day of barbeque and a night of brilliant fireworks. Watching festive displays works well to bring a family together, from children to grandparents.
Culture also plays a part in tradition. St. Patrick’s Day is a well known Irish holiday, and many celebrate with festive green clothes and a kiss from a sweetheart.
Yet cultural backgrounds can also affect the more popular holidays. My own German and Polish background celebrates Easter by painting eggs then cracking one end against someone else’s egg. The winner is the last one to eat an egg during dinner, because only when both ends of an egg are cracked can a person eat it.
Not all traditions have a long history or cultural tie. Many stem from superstition or force of habit. Some insist on having a certain relative cut the Thanksgiving turkey, while others prefer the oldest child to light the first sparkler on the Fourth of July. Many families run outside on New Years Eve and bang pots and pans, supposedly driving away bad luck for the coming year.
Sometimes holiday traditions occur before or after a holiday. Some families will open one present on Christmas Eve, instead of opening them all on Christmas Day. Some lovers purposely exchange gifts the day before Valentine’s Day as proof that they don’t need a holiday to give a gift.
Whether it stems from your cultural background, superstition, or simply where you live, traditions are important to the holidays. They add a personal touch to holidays that might otherwise fall victim to the advertising industry.
While dressing up and giving gifts can be important, it is the family aspect that makes most smile. Traditions manage to bring generations together, along with blending boundaries that are otherwise solid the rest of the year. Fights are forgotten and grief is pushed aside.
In a world that is so busy, we can’t afford to forget the little things. Holidays are more than money and decorations, instead they are a time to heal and renew. Traditions bind us together, forming bonds that will last a lifetime.
Maybe the reasons are silly, or the timing is inconvenient, but we should try. Enjoy the little things, and pass that joy onto the future,

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