Hello, my name is Sunny and I’m a holiday tradition addict. It all started innocently enough; I was just a mom trying to make the holidays special, magical and memorable. What started as just a shot of holiday merriment has turned into a full-on holiday bender. It’s not even the traditions that we partake in on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (which are numerous), the travel or all the shopping that makes me feel overwhelmed, it’s all the other stuff we do leading up to the “big day.” And now that my daughter is six, these traditions we’ve established have firmly taken root. We can’t just chop them off our to-do list. Disappointing your kid during the holidays is like stabbing a peppermint stick in your heart; you just don’t want to do it.
I’ve talked to other families about how many traditions they engage in on a yearly basis; a recent Facebook poll of my friends and acquaintances came in at an average of about four. And being the overachiever that I am, our family clocks in at about 13, yes 13 pre-holiday rituals and seasonal experiences (and the list keeps growing).
But is it a bad thing? Family traditions go on record as being important to the development of our children. Psychology Today notes that: “Family traditions, including holiday traditions, are more than simply times to eat a lot (and maybe give out presents). Psychologically, traditions (and their smaller counterpart, daily rituals) play a vital role in child development, and strengthen the attachments that children have. These attachments include their parents, to be sure, but they also go beyond parents to include grandparents, uncles, and aunts and cousins — indeed, the entire extended family. Why is this important? Very simply because those attachments play a central role in our children’s emerging identities: that sense of who they are and where their place is in the world. They form an anchor point from which to venture forth and explore the world.”
If I take that as fact, then my kid will grow up with a very sturdy and strong anchor. During the month of December we seem to run on auto-pilot, with eggnog and Christmas cookies fueling our holiday frenzy, but even though it’s crazy, it does seem worth it. I’m just glad it’s just one month of the year.
As an exercise in taking stock, I opted to sit down and look at our holiday traditions, why they are important to us and why we continue to do them. Which ones, does your family celebrate?
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Photo Source: Sunny Chanel and istockphotos unless otherwise noted.