In the comments of my post asking about peoples' Thanksgiving traditions, Rose suggested I ask the same question about the holidays, but with time enough to put some ideas into practice this year. Great idea…I'm glad other folks enjoy hearing about others' holiday rituals as much as I do.
It so happens that my son and I were just discussing holiday traditions. We celebrate Hanukkah, and we lit the first candle last night. He reminded me that last year, we got sidetracked and forgot to light a few candles during the eight nights of Hanukkah. It still bothered him. Yes, he has a memory like a steel trap. But it reminded me just how important this tradition is to him.
It's reasonable to assume that our plugged-in kids no longer appreciate simple traditions and family rituals. Why sing carols when they're on continuous stream via Pandora or iTunes? Who wants to play dreidel or string popcorn when there's an XBox to be played?
Surprise: our kids! They care! The little things we do each year mean so much to kids…more than we realize.
The presents? Most of them are forgotten in a few months. The decorations, the special foods and treats, the music, the spiritual rituals, the little holiday things unique to your family…those traditions are what memories are made of.
A few of our holiday traditions:
- Light the candles during each night of Hanukkah
- Decorate (I've amassed quite a collection of snowflake ornaments)
- Walk around our neighborhood looking at lights and peoples' Christmas trees
- Eat latkes (potato pancakes) with applesauce and sour cream
- Gelt (chocolate coins) for the kids on the first night of Hanukkah
One tradition that's all my own: I hit the streets on the morning of December 26 searching for half-price snowflake ornaments to add to my collection. What can I say? I may not celebrate Christmas, but I'm a sucker for those ornaments.
What are your family's holiday and New Year traditions?