The Importance of Traditions

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable, and safe in a confusing world.
— Susan Lieberman

Tis the season for eggnog, Christmas trees, decorations, ugly sweaters, parties, candles… oh and traditions. The holidays have a way of descending upon us and bringing with them (sometimes much to our chagrin) reminders that we should be participating in something that we’ve repeatedly done before. Whether it’s putting up and decorating a Christmas tree, lighting a menorah, or gathering around the dinner table, traditions can come in many forms and can bring with them a variety of different feelings. Some people like the comfort and stability that traditions bring, while others find them constricting, wanting the freedom to try something new.  

I believe that traditions are good. In fact, my husband will tell you that I love traditions. He might even say that I get upset when I don’t participate in a tradition that I normally partake in every year (yikes!). I’ve tried telling him it’s important to me but I don’t think I’ve ever really expressed why.  

I enjoy having something to look forward to, the time spent with people I love, and creating memories that will keep me warm on a cold winter’s night. And now that I have two nieces, I enjoy sharing experiences I had as a child with them, a chance for me to re-live the magic of my youth and also a chance for me to provide them with a foundation for their future, hopefully giving them something that doesn’t waver even when the rest of the world seems like it’s on the brink.  

I understand that traditions are not for everyone. I know that for some they can bring up negative emotions, or bring them into contact with toxic people. But for these people, I still encourage you to participate in traditions that you feel comfortable with or to start new traditions for yourself that bring you happiness and joy.  

Here are my top three reasons why I love traditions and think they are worth having in your life:

They bring people together or closer. When my grandmother, the matriarch of our family, passed away, my family turned to one of her favorite pastimes to cope: card games. This brought a grieving family closer together and also provided comfort in a time of deep sadness and loss. And sometimes reviving an old or lost tradition is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and friends you haven’t seen in awhile.

They provide comfort, identity, and values. One of my favorite traditions growing up was helping my mom decorate for Halloween. She always went all-out with her creativity and spunk. I can honestly say it’s probably the biggest reason why Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s contributed to my identity in so many ways: my love for ghost stories, pumpkins, and the month of October.  

They give you a chance to reflect and be grateful. In my last blog post, I talked about being grateful for struggles and challenges. Traditions can give you a space to reflect and be grateful for all that you have. They can also help you think about what your next move is. Every year for New Year’s I make a list of all the things my husband and I did that year. And before midnight we read the list out loud. It gives us a chance to remember all the good times from the past year and think about all of our adventures together for the year ahead.  

I’d love to hear about your favorite traditions! Let me know in the comments below or find me on instagram: @kcorey720

From my heart to yours, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season filled with happiness, gratefulness, and love.