Traditions have a way of glittering our days in December. Decorating cookies, holiday craft parties, singing Christmas Carols, Christmas Eve service, sledding, reading the Night Before Christmas, watching holiday movies, putting up the tree, gathering with friends and family, attending the Nutcracker; there is something magical about looking forward to the same things each year. I feel like the performance of the Nutcracker kids off the Holiday season. One of my first memories with my grandparents was attending the Nutcracker when I was really little. Since then, my Grandmother has taken us a few other times. Over the last 5 years, my daughter and I have started the tradition of going each year. This past December, my daughter was actually part of the cast. While it is nice to carryout the same traditions year after year, it is always nice to leave space to create new memories. This year, I asked my kids to come up with a new tradition that they are looking forward to trying out. I think it is neat when kids get a chance to be part of making something happen year after year. Traditions keep you grounded. It is important to have things you can count on. It is important to think about the purpose behind the tradition. It is okay to modify a tradition in order for it to workout the best for your situation. It is important to reflect on the purpose of the tradition and what you are trying to accomplish.
For example, if driving to look at Christmas lights is a tradition, maybe you can find an area close to home for your experience to cut down on the drive time. Or, if time is a factor and your family loves decorating cookies, maybe it is possible to buy the cookies, and then fulfill the tradition by just adding frosting and sprinkles?
As I thought about the word, Tradition I was curious as to how the dictionary would officially define the word. Tradition is officially defined as, an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or social custom).
I have always been drawn to the word. Traditional. I am the oldest of four kids, and feel as though I have looked forward to and relied upon traditions over the years. I could say that my life has been fairly traditional. Upon graduating from high school, I finished college, was married, got a job, and a few years later started having kids. While choosing a more traditional lifestyle, I have made sure to leave room for creativity, innovation and spontaneous opportunity.
Currently I am reading the book, Home Body, A guide to creating spaces you never want to leave by Joanna Gaines. I love how she explains different styles that people might be drawn to; traditional being one of them. Traditional as in long-established, historic, timeless, sophisticated, stately, storied, refined, and classic. While she mentions several other words to serve as descriptions, these adjectives really grabbed hold of me. Joanna also explains that people who might enjoy a traditional style are interested in knowing the stories behind the things they see in a particular home. This could not be more true, as on top of our fireplace sits a sign that reads, “Our Story”. One of my goals for 2019, is to focus on really noticing things. I am looking to arrange the things in our house to tell our family’s story, as well as to give glimpses of the generations who came before us. I want to pass down the stories of our family. Thinking about the word traditional in regards to the items in our house, I am inspired to learn about the stories behind the fixtures, choices of wood, tile, windows and so forth.
I find that I can relax when things are classified as traditional. Everyday life seems to show so many examples traditions, or the description, “traditional”. As I think about the word a little deeper, I am beginning to realize that there are so many different ways that I can use this style strength to appreciate and get to know people on another level. I need to find ways to ask people to tell me stories more often, and utilize the elements at home and work that are tried and true and find things that ground me. Since I enjoy the traditional things, I can appreciate that I do not need to get caught up in the latest gimmick or fad. When I hear about something new, I can uncover the story behind it first, to determine the possibility of it being universal or timeless.
While I thrive on traditions and things being traditional, I am always striving to improve appreciating the styles other people love. A co-worker of mine does this well as she always gets excited about my style and interests, and asks me questions that force me to reflect more on what I like. While I know that she would not choose the things that I do; she always finds a way to get excited about as well as validate my preferences. She shows me that I matter. Validating and accepting others is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Appreciating the good in others is traditional, timeless, universal, classic and something that I want to make a regular part of my day.