This is a season of traditions. Organizations, communities, families—all sorts of groups create traditional responses to the holiday.
Traditions serve varied purposes. They invoke warm (and sometimes painful) memories, bring people together, and give special meaning to particular days and events.
I’m thinking of some random reminders for myself about holiday traditions.
- Don’t impose my traditions on others.
- Don’t follow a tradition just because it’s always been there.
- Don’t reject a tradition just because it’s always been there.
- Sometimes my participation enriches or serves someone else. It’s not all about me.
- Consider the meaning behind a tradition.
- Traditions sometimes need to evolve.
- Some traditions impose hidden hardships.
- Give others permission to back away, opt out, or change roles.
- It’s okay if observing a tradition involves work and sacrifice.
- It’s not okay if observing a tradition (perfectly) increases stress and anxiety.
Most important: useful traditions aren’t about objects, actions, or results. They’re about building and enriching relationships with God, others, and myself.