How to Keep Family Traditions

One of my all time favorite movies is the classic, Fiddler On The Roof. Though many life lessons can be learned from this movie, the one that stood out for me was the importance of upholding family traditions. I won’t give out any spoilers, but, in the movie, we discover alongside Tevye, the Jewish milkman and father of 5 daughters, that keeping traditions alive in a family can be challenging.

The holidays are the times we most often try to uphold our family traditions. Often, these traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. When I was growing up, our family unwrapped our gifts on Christmas Eve. My dad, would gather the family together and hand out gifts one at a time. When the unwrapping was done, we feasted on Christmas dinner as a family. Christmas Day was a day for visiting friends and enjoying all of our gifts.

So, it was only natural for me to uphold that same tradition when I had my own family. Luckily, my husband was willing to adopt my traditions. But for some, it can definitely become a problem if you both grew up with different family traditions. Over the years, I have had to let go of the traditional ways I grew up celebrating the Holidays. My children are grown with families of their own, and they have started their own traditions. There was many a time I felt like Tevye in the movie, and wanted to scream “noooo, that is not how we do things, it is not our tradition!” But, like Tevye, I came to realize that some traditions are better left as memories, so that there is always room for new ones.

So, how can we keep family traditions during the holidays, whilst keeping family peace and joy at the same time. Here are some suggestions that I myself have tried and found to be helpful:

  • Pick a Holiday – Since the holiday season stretches out over the course of 3 main events……Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, agree to host one of them with family and celebrate with the traditions you grew up with. It became a tradition for our children to celebrate Christmas Eve at our home, so they could be free to celebrate Christmas Day with their spouse’s family.
  • Pick another day – Though Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, you can always choose to celebrate on another day if their is a conflict, that way, no one has to make an uncomfortable choice. We often celebrated with a huge party on Thanksgiving weekend when I was growing up. Everyone was invited and brought a part of the meal that resulted in quite a feast.
  • Volunteer – Many churches actually prepare a Thanksgiving dinner to feed the homeless and less fortunate. It is a tradition that has changed many lives, both for the recipients and for those volunteering their time.

There are countless other ways that I’m sure many families have found to incorporate traditions from both past and present, keeping peace, love and harmony in their families.  I have only been speaking from the perspective of someone whose children are grown, with families of their own. But, it is wonderful when young families take the time to establish traditions that will continue for generations.

Whether your traditions are about what foods you cook, whose house you go to, what games you play or what decorations you put up this holiday season, the most important tradition of all is love. Love binds us all together. It transcends culture, social status, and feeds the soul. Without love, nothing will taste good, look good or feel good. If we can establish and cultivate love within our families, we can change the world. God Bless You All! Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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