My wife Melissa and I spent the morning putting up our Christmas tree in our tiny little apartment. We ended up rearranging the whole place the make room for the Christmas tree and we still had to leave off some of the branches against the wall in order to fit it snuggly into our cozy little living room. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the day after thanksgiving. This is a tradition I wouldn’t mind keeping for the day after thanksgiving as opposed to our national tradition of pushing all of our beloved box retailers into the black.
I realized today that I am a huge sucker for both traditions and holidays. I cherish all of the little things that make certain days or times of the year different from all of the rest. As we were putting up our tree today, I suddenly came to this realization. Every little thing that we do during these “special” moments of the year causes me to ask myself, “could this be the beginning of a lifelong tradition?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how important little traditions have been to me during the course of my life. After spending a little time thinking about it, I have come up with a theory as to why this is. Let me share it with you briefly. I would love to hear feedback and comments from anyone who has two cents to put in.
I think that when we are growing up, our family is the most important thing to us. That small group of people closest to us becomes our home, our identity and our security. I think this creates a built-in desire to continually define ourselves in terms of our membership in this thing we call family. I view traditions as unspoken promises that exist between all of the members of a family. These promises say that we will always be family and that there are certain things we can always count on in this family.
Growing up, the little traditions, like knowing that we would go to church on Christmas Eve and then go home and open presents immediately afterwords, were extremely important to me. The more I think about it, the more I believe this was not just because of the excitement that I got from opening presents but more so because it was something that we all knew would happen. It was something we did because we were the Fischers and the Fischers did things a certain way.
I think every tradition a family keeps is a little extra bit of glue in the emotional bond that a family has. For children in particular, I believe this creates the extremely important feeling of security that gives a child the confidence to be exactly who they are and know that they are loved.
Now obviously, I do not think that a load of traditions can replace cultivating healthy parent/child relationships. I do however think that a healthy family can benefit a lot from these little unspoken promises. Whether these promises are major traditions tied to a Holiday or just little parts of the daily routine that are “our family’s thing”, these promises are important.