Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen nearly a jillion social media posts featuring mom friends and their families practicing holiday traditions. In the mix were time lapse tree trimmings, kids stirring cookie batter and photos of the favorite scene in the favorite holiday movie staged with a glass of wine, or mug of hot cocoa in the foreground. Although we all have various traditions we practice with our families throughout the year, Christmastime (and the holiday season in general) seems to be when we do it the most.
Growing up, I remember plenty of holiday traditions, many of which we still practice with my own family now. Some of these traditions remain unchanged as we bring them to the next generation, while others have evolved to accommodate our modern family and modern times. And yet, we have also added some new traditions over the years. But whether old or new, the reason we practice these rituals remains the same: To bring our family together, to remember the past and create memories we will cherish for years to come.
As adults, we mostly don’t remember the gifts we got for Christmas when we were young, but we do remember how we felt. The season of Christmas is magical in the way its traditions wake our senses. We remember the scent of pine, peppermint and a cracking fire. We remember the sweet taste of freshly baked cookies and peanut brittle. We know every word (or at least the tune) of the carols in the air and can quote the movies on T.V., “..so, good news…I saw a dog today.” (Name that movie!) Many of us recall the excitement, possibly mixed with some anxiety, of meeting Santa… For me, it wasn’t that I was necessarily naughty, I just worried I forgot something off the list I compiled from the glossy, 300 paged JC Penny catalog. But most importantly and more often than not, we tend to remember the quality time spent with our loved ones this time of year.
Every family has traditions unique to themselves, and yet we all work to create bonds in our families that give our children the same sense of belonging. Children crave the comfort and security that traditions and predictability provide. In my own family, I want to ensure we are cultivating that stability. I have found our traditions also tend to reflect our values and are a way to teach our children what’s truly important, and for many of us, it’s spending more time together.
But it isn’t all for the kids, if I’m being honest. The nostalgia and delight these traditions evoke for me is palpable. In other words, I enjoy putting in the extra work to continue these traditions, because (at least in our house) mom is in charge of decking the halls, jingling the bells, rocking around the Christmas tree and of course moving our elf “Ed Nog” nightly. Based on the posts flooding my feed, I know I’m not alone in keeping these traditions of merriment.
Many other moms are also magicians creating their own Christmas magic from generation to generation.