Maintaining family traditions at Christmas

Why is it important to maintain traditions that are often forgotten about this Christmas?

Elizabeth Meade
7th December 2021
Image from Pixabay @Bob_dmyt
While the topic of youth and the conflict between tradition and modernity is an omnipresent theme, we don't discuss it much within our own families. It is all too common for families who celebrate Christmas to abandon traditions, not for any thought-out reason but simply because it seems like too much work. Some of us, though, would argue that it's the care that goes into tradition that makes the season special. How do I do it?

Many family traditions revolve around food. Unfortunately, we don't always have the time to cook. My personal plan starts in the summer. I look through cookbooks to find the recipes I want to make, then write down a list. I typically include a few more than I can actually make so that I can switch to a backup if necessary.

Once the Christmas season comes around, I figure out the exact logistics of making the food. With a clear plan, it's a lot easier to figure out how to employ the time, energy and resources that I have. I can also ask family and friends to help. To really start early, I might make a few items in the summer and freeze until Christmas. (This works nicely with baked goods.)

It is all too common for families who celebrate Christmas to abandon traditions, not for any thought-out reason but simply because it seems like too much work.

Making craft projects for gifts is my ideal way to spend the holidays, but hard to actually accomplish. Last year my mother and I figured it out: everyone was going to get a tote bag, in the same shape. The unique aspect of the gifts would be the fabric. Fortunately we had a lot of fabric, so we were able to pick out a different pattern for most people. (We did use a few of the patterns with wider appeal multiple times.) I could do something similar with any useful gift that is easy to make.

Why do we maintain Christmas traditions? Everyone's answer will be different. Christmas is undoubtedly a religious holiday, signifying the birth of Christ, despite its modern commercialization. It's one of the most important events on the Christian calendar, and while I'm not highly religious myself it's nonetheless a holiday my extended family has taken seriously for a long time. For us, it's the one time of the year we all come together to celebrate--and for me, that's reason enough for a bit of extra planning and preparation!

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) 4th year Chem student. Former Head of Current Affairs and Former Science Sub-Editor. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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