Hold onto old traditions but make new ones

By Abbey Serena and By Abbey Serena

No matter which race, gender, or age you are, you probably have traditions that come about only around this time of year.

All throughout my childhood, my immediate family would get up early on Thanksgiving Day, watch the Macy’s Day Parade, and eat dinner at my grandparents’ home. On Christmas Eve, we go to the Fantasy of Lights, and the following morning, we have a Christmas present treasure hunt and watch Christmas Story. On repeat. All day long.

But some of you might not even celebrate the same holidays that I do. No matter what it is that you observe, though, you likely have something that you do every single year. Or maybe your tradition is to not have any traditions. Maybe you switch it up every year, going to see different light shows, or caroling in a plethora of neighborhoods.

Recently, my traditions started to change. This will be the first Christmas that my brother won’t be home, as he’s a Marine who is across the ocean right now. I got a job this past summer and worked through most of the day of Thanksgiving, and will likely do the same for Christmas. While my family tried to work around this and act as normal as possible, I could tell that something was missing, which is why this article is being written.

While I enjoyed all of our traditions during the past years, I realized that these could be completely different, or I couldn’t have them at all. I became aware of how important these are to me, and how they shaped the person that I am. It seems like such a small thing, these few traditions that occur only a couple times a year. But I’ve never been without them, and I’d hate to think that I ever would be.

Whether you practice Christianity, Judaism, atheism, or something else entirely, or if you celebrate these national holidays or have your own, I want to encourage you to find a group of people—no matter if it’s family, friends, or strangers—who you can gather with. You don’t have to have a lot of food on the table, or presents to give each other. And you don’t have to speak to each other for the rest of the year. But for a couple of days out of the year, bring a group of people together and spend the time bonding with them.

These couple of months can bring out a lot of stress, between spending on presents or food, having in-laws over, or watching pesky cats knock over decorations. My family has been through all of these things. But seeing it all come together on whichever holiday you celebrate is rewarding, as you watch people smile and enjoy everything that you’ve done. I advise others to do this more often, as I will try to do as well.

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