One of my favorite plays – ever – is “Fiddler on the Roof.” I love the music – I love the poignant dialogue – and I love the plot. I love it all. I can watch it over and over and always be thrilled. And then watch it all over again.
One of my favorite songs from the movie is “Tradition.” Right before they break out into song, there’s a line in the movie, “…and because of our traditions – every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”
The holiday season really brings out traditions….in our house, some traditions include: decorating the tree the day after Thanksgiving, going to see the Plaza Christmas lights, baking Christmas cookies with Papa, seeing Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert, hosting the family Christmas party, and leaving out cookies and milk for Santa.
Another tradition is sending out Christmas cards. I started mine Monday night. I have about 40 to send out – and I managed to get 10 of them done, so far. Hey – that’s 10 more done than I had the night before….right?
In the “old” days – when I had more hours in my day – I would sit down and compose a poem in lieu of a Christmas newsletter. The poem would be witty and wonderful and tell all the awesome things that our family did during the year. I always had lots of positive feedback about the poem – but that tradition got thrown out the window. It just took too much time. That I didn’t have. So - now I buy beautiful cards, write a little note, address them – and that makes me happy.
And that’s the important thing to remember about traditions. They can change. They can be altered. They can be new traditions – or old traditions. And if they don’t make you happy – or if they don’t add joy to your life – then they need to go.
And there should be no guilt if a tradition gets kicked to the curb.
Another tradition of mine that got “altered” over the years is baking. I used to take 2-3 days in the kitchen and bake all sorts of wonderful homemade goodies – candies and cookies and cakes. And then it would sit. My family really isn’t into that stuff. They like brownies. Period. So – eventually the candies and cookies and cakes would get thrown out. So sad. Such a waste.
Waste of time, effort, money – so that tradition changed. I now bake for an afternoon only – and it’s served at the holiday party or given away – and I bake brownies for the family. Everyone’s happy.
It’s been a liberating feeling over the last few years to let go of traditions that pulled me down. I think it’s made the holidays more enjoyable – to only do the things that are fun – and not do things only because we feel obligated to.
What about you? Do you have traditions that you have stopped? Did you feel guilty? Or were you able to let it go?