One of the joys in living life to the fullest is the opportunity each year to renew and celebrate certain traditions. Holiday preparations, meals, decorations, music and conversation serve to bring family and friends together while strengthening the bond between them. Some traditions are marked by certain events. Seasonal changes, sporting events, religious celebrations, parties and gatherings all serve to bring us together to cope with life’s ups and down, providing joy and special meaning to the connections we share.
Some traditions are ancient, passing from generation to generation, renewed and passed down as valuable heirloom. Others may be passing and while only short-lived, served to mark a special time in one’s life.
Thanksgiving serves as an important kickoff to many of the traditions important in our lives. We each have those that are unique and very personal, but throughout your life they conjure special memories and warm thoughts of years gone by. Even when we suffer through some unbearable portion or a meal gone bad it’s the lasting memory that builds those unique layers on the tradition that further enriches the shared memory.
Unfortunately as time marches on so do some of the traditions that stood firm throughout the years. Traditions change as a result of many factors. The passing of time, places and people can affect those events over the years. In some cases only then do we begin to appreciate the value of those traditions and the effort put forth by those who made them special to you.
There is an important lesson to certain traditions. The most important lesson is the ability to share your traditions with others, inviting them into the unique experience that was once new to you. While the tradition may evolve over time the ability to pass along from previous generations not only the importance of the tradition but the manner in which those individuals from the earlier generation valued and shared the tradition. It’s those stories passed down and shared that make these events so very personal.
Giving and sharing are what make these traditions so personal and so valued. As the years pass we realize that what we were given, what was shared with us, is perhaps the greatest of gifts we have ever received. The only thing that makes that feeling even more prized is when you can pass along the same joy to the next generation.
Each generation updates the tradition, adds its own personal touches but in most cases retains the core warmth and love in the same manner that it was given. Technology and changing times play an important role in how we celebrate these traditions but it’s never been about the method of celebration. True traditions have always been about the people and the ability to share experiences while passing along the values we find so important.
So as we race through this short holiday season take time to cherish these annual traditions that all too often come and go in the blink of eye. Give thanks for the family and friends with whom you’ve shared your traditions over the years. Realize that it’s your honor and responsibility to pass along these traditions to the future generations. Know that these simple traditions serve as the fabric of our democratic nation and nothing does more to strengthen that fabric than to share these valuable traditions with pride, joy and love.
All traditions, old and new are to be respected as a celebration of the freedom we all enjoy in a country that is unlike any other. May this season of traditions be memorable for you and those with whom you share your precious memories.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.