The time has come for us to say, “goodbye” to a long year and begin a brand new year. We find that we easily switch gears to do what we’ve done at the end of each year. We exclaim, “It’s the holidays and a New Year is upon us!” The fever continues throughout this frenzied season. We drift into auto pilot and do what comes naturally for us. We find that sometimes these actions are carried on throughout the years and never skip a generation! (Maybe this year will be a bit different?) Sometimes we change things a bit but overall, we continue the same traditions, year after year. Let’s bring Webster in. He defines tradition as: “1: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom) 2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction”. This explains why we don’t even think about our actions around the “holidays” because they are things we saw others do, so we do them too!
These actions are important because they keep us together and are woven into the fabric of our ethos or character. One could say that traditions help bind our families together throughout decades. Ever wonder why we have traditions or if they even matter? Sonnenberg, well known author on values, touts a few reasons why traditions are important to us. He says that they make us feel like we belong and the things that we value most are strengthened. He also indicates that traditions make it so that we celebrate the things that matter to us by creating forever family memories and great photo “ops”. Others have said that traditions give you something good to look forward to.
Family traditions help build a great family and help bind it together. Perhaps it is engaging the kids in the baking of grandma’s famous gingerbread people cookie recipe or attending or watching the “ball” drop in Times Square, visiting the cabin for one last time before Winter, or collecting much needed items to give to a charity over the holidays. Again, it is done year after year and we look forward to it. This provides consistency and that is very healthy. There may be events that force a slight modification in our traditions. We still carry on, just in an altered manner. Done right, we feel secure and complete.
Certainly, we’ve been through a lot over the past 2 years and it is important to keep cherished traditions alive. It helps make hard times seem a bit palatable. More than ever we need to stick together to provide strength for each other as we tread this difficult course of life together while serving our seniors. Traditions give us the opportunity to do something in unison, enjoying all along the way.
One tradition we at MASWA have had, is to have a Holiday Get-Together in December. Given the heightened state of the virus, we are modifying our tradition and having a “January Kick-Off” on January 27, instead. Hopefully by then more would have been able to get “boostered-up” and recharged. Watch for more information!
Whatever your traditions, keep them and pass them on. They might just bring you some joy and peace and comfort during these trying times yet welcomed holiday season! Thank you for all you have done this past year, to serve our seniors.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!