Obligation Vs. Tradition
By: Pamela Cooper
Just another obligation? I read that Americans purchase 1.6 billion Christmas cards each year. And that the tradition dates back to the 1800s. I also read that traditions are just peer pressure from your (dead) ancestors. But how do I create MY holiday traditions to have meaning and not just obligation? Do you love to decorate for the holiday season on Thanksgiving weekend? But what if you don’t enjoy it? Who says you have to? Find the peace in what makes you happy … and do it. Create your own tradition and memories. As with everything, begin with your why. Are you sending out 125 cards each December because that’s what your mother did? Do you send out cards just to those who send you one? Are you creating memories with your family and then sharing them with friends and family who you may not otherwise see? Or have time to talk to at other times in the year? One year I tried to make and decorate cut-out cookies. It was one of the most miserable experiences, I choose to never do that again. But sometime in my early-twenties I began making pizzelles, an Italian cookie that I remember my grandparents loving. I remember bringing some to Papa when he was in the hospital one year. He took a bite, looked at me, and said “you made these?” With that one look he realized that I grew up and was now doing something my Nana Jean –his true love- did. And so now I make pizzelles. That’s the yummy story behind my tradition. So what if I’m the only American who doesn’t make traditional cut-out cookies? I also stopped sending 100+ Christmas cards each year and I feel okay about that decision! Whatever your motivation, know why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’m not here to say any of those reasons are wrong or right … do what’s right for your own family. Let Go of the Nonsense. When the timing is right (or wrong), change your mind. Change your routine. Just change. When life changes forces you, sometimes you just roll with it and change your routines. Other times it’s by choice. It’s ok to mix up traditions and do something different than you always have done in the past. Do something that brings you joy. Have fun. “If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong.” This is my favorite thing I read today. Whether it’s creating and sending cards, wrapping gifts, or baking – these are MY traditions and memories and I am going to have fun while I own them. I encourage you to do the same! What can you do this year that will allow you to be YOU and honor your OWN traditions?