It is funny how traditions change over the years. You think by their very nature, they’d stay the same. But as new generations are born and included in holiday festivities, the same-old traditions get altered, slowly, over time.
My family always used to go Christmas tree shopping together. We’d head down the road to the Christmas tree farm — because that’s how they do it in the Midwest — and pick out the biggest, fattest tree we could find. We were particularly drawn to blue spruce.
I have always insisted that out here, in Wyoming, we still go find a real live tree. We don’t go to the farm, we go to the mountains. We don’t find the biggest, fattest tree, we find the one that will fit best in our home.
The tradition — in theory — remains. The practice has changed.
Each family, I’m sure, has its own versions of holiday traditions. Maybe the tradition is based around who cooks the holiday meal. Or, perhaps it includes who opens gifts first on Christmas morning.
I hope you’ll all think about how your family’s traditions have been altered over the years.
Family members come and go — sometimes because they have passed on, moved to another state or for whatever reason couldn’t or wouldn’t attend the holiday gathering. New members join the family — kids, spouses, pets. Room is made for additional family members and guests. Individuals pick up tasks left behind by others.
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that while we all have traditions we cherish, most of us are flexible in how they are carried out each year.
Typically we don’t dig our heels in and refuse to eat the apple pie because grandma wasn’t here to bake it. Most adults don’t throw tantrums if the order in which gifts are opened changes because there’s a new member of the family who didn’t know the rules. We adjust to our surroundings. We are flexible. We compromise.
In a world in which compromise is often looked on as weakness, we undertake the task each holiday season. We go to the in-laws instead of watching holiday classics from the comfort of our own couches. We let our sibling’s new girlfriend choose the wine. We let the stepkids open gifts on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas morning.
If we can adjust and accommodate for the holidays — a season of joy, love and giving — why can’t we do it all year? Why do we dig our heels in, stubbornly resisting any change that alters our worlds?
Think about your traditions, how they’ve changed over the years and apply your patience and willingness to compromise elsewhere too.