Over the years I have treasured my memories of Christmas at my grandparents’ home. Although no specific gift stands out in my mind, the aroma of cherry pie and the sight of homemade noodles drying in front of the stove lingers.
Traditions are of value to families in three specific ways. Traditions foster feelings of closeness and family stability. They protect our sense of security amidst the abrupt changes that sometimes come into our lives. And, traditions can act as assurances for children and young adults as they deal with the pressures of growing up and facing adult life. Those activities remembered most by children are the ones that resulted in a feeling of closeness and stability.
Healthy families have a strong sense of family and an abundance of traditions. A family’s way of making holidays special has a way of making children feel special too. Our children do not remember so much what we do, but that we do it with them. It’s important to start traditions early for children because they usually like to do things the way they have always done them.
Traditions suggest a sense of continuity. They are threads of our past, weaving into a heritage of memories. The continuity of traditions that started in our parents’ families requires only a brief recall. But, how far back does the tradition go? As traditions are passed from generation to generation, children sense that what they are experiencing and doing is important.
As you can see, family tradition plays an important role in our lives. The holidays provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the warmth shared through these activities. But, don’t try to celebrate someone else’s Christmas! This happens when you take cues from television, stores, or friends rather than doing what is important to you and your family.
May you experience the joy and peace of this holiday season as you enrich your sense of family unity, stability, and continuity through your own uniquely meaningful and fulfilling holiday traditions. May all of us be an extension of God’s love to each other as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!