Why do we eat mince meat pie every year, or go ice skating in the city for Christmas? Because it’s holiday tradition, we say. We continue to participate in these holiday traditions year after year, even though it is not something we would typically be a part of. Why? Why do we have family traditions? This may have a lot more to do with our subconscious happiness than we know.
Psychology Today found that it makes us feel more secure, and it brings about nostalgic feelings that we seek, taking us back. “Embracing family customs or personal rituals can be a powerful grounding force and a reminder that in an evolving world, some things are constant.” We continue to honor these traditions because they make us feel good. Well, that explains why I continue to watch Elf every year, even though I have seen it a million times. I want to remember the how it made me feel, and feel it again.
In the United States, Christmas was declared a federal holiday in 1870; ever since, we have not stopped adding to the long list of traditions that we enjoy every year. History.com reports that 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold stateside. Just talking or thinking about a Christmas tree can bring back the amazing smell of pine, slipping feelings of happiness into our minds.
What is it about Christmas and family traditions that has many looking forward to this time of year almost as soon as it is over? Maybe it’s the eggnog, or maybe it’s the countless silly songs about Santa and his reindeer crew. Can you imagine if there was a master list of family holiday traditions? This list would be so beautiful, there would be no way to get through it without crying.
Holiday traditions with friends and family really make the holidays special. It’s what we crave. We want those old feelings of happiness to wash over us once again. Let’s take a look at some of the holiday traditions that my wonderful coworkers here at Evy’s Tree observe.
Amy Miraflor, Owner/Designer
Holiday Tradition: Decorating the Christmas Tree
“One of my very favorite things about Christmas is decorating the Christmas tree. This year was especially poignant because so many of my close friends and family have lost everything this year, including special ornaments that they have collected over their lives. Christmas ornaments are memories for me, windows to times that we have done special things, have taken special trips, and shared special moments together as a family. So putting these together every Christmas is one of my very favorite things.”
Emily Semens, Marketing Coordinator
Holiday Tradition: Taking a family picture with Santa at the mall every year
“Hi everyone, Emily here. I wanted to share one of my family traditions with you! I’m the oldest of five children, and every single year growing up, my parents would take us to get a photo with Santa at the mall. We never missed a year! And now, years later, we are all adults and grown up…some are married and moved away…but every year, the kids still get together and take a photo with Santa at the mall.”
Samantha Donohue, IT Lead
Holiday Tradition: Singing with Family
“What I look forward to most during Christmas is the memories that I will make with my family. I’ve been blessed to be part of a “Big-Fat” Italian/Irish family. It’s the one time of year that everyone gathers together. We all gather around the table, and we sing our hearts out! We laugh, simply enjoying the fact that we are together. Each year as we gather, I can’t help but wonder if it will be the last memory that I make with my grandparents or other family members. That’s why we must strive to live in those moments and make them life’s best, feeding meaning and depth into them. When I recently asked my children if they’d like to enjoy going out to a fancy meal with just the 5 of us, all of them said that it wouldn’t be Christmas unless we were with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.”
Thank you Amy, Emily, and Samantha for sharing your holiday traditions with us! They are absolutely beautiful.
So next time you sit down to build that train set with Dad, or to bake those fresh caramel rolls with Mom, remember to slow down, breathe and take it all in. These moments of tradition can bring us a deep happiness. Let’s take these opportunities to fill our memory banks with vivid depictions of smells, visual mental snapshots, and feelings. Holiday traditions are all about living in the moment; it’s these moments that fill our hearts and minds forever.