And so it begins – the onset of the holiday season – a time of gathering, sharing, giving, receiving and love. This week families will gather and share in a bounteous meal, reminiscent of their past. Turkey or ham will be served with mashed potatoes, yams, home made stuffing, fancy desserts and a lot of indigestion. The meal itself is a tradition.
Think back to the holidays of your youth. Days of preparation went on before the actual feast. For some it meant making sacrifices to bring something sumptuous to the table. For others it may have meant a way of giving thanks for their blessings.
The gathering was comprised of a bounty of relatives and/or friends. It was a noisy time of laughter, conversation, debate, trying to one up the other. It was time to remember how things used to be when grandma made the main course and others would pitch in with side dishes and desserts.
Then came the football games. When I was a kid, I don’t think they had started televising football games. What can I say? I’m old! So instead the football would be taken outside allowing for the elimination of some of those unnecessary calories we’d consumed.
Getting together as a family has almost become a thing of the past as we’re often separated by many miles. Today our dinners may still contain some traditions. We set a fancy table, filled with treasured China, crystal and silverware. We sit together or maybe not. We begin with a special prayer of Thanksgiving and then everyone digs in and rushes from the table to pursue their own devices. Today the special table has been substituted with paper plates and plastic utensils. The meal is served buffet style, but hey, you’re all in the same general vicinity of each other, which may or may not be good.
The old ways are not always the best. Conversation is rare, because we don’t want to talk about anything controversial and ruin this Currier & Ives setting. Football exists on a huge HDTV and for those left to clean up after the amazing feast, it just becomes an extra burden.
When we strive to do things that have been done a certain way in the past, we often set ourselves up for disappointment. We may create a Pinterest environment with lovely trappings, right down to the napkin rings. We create the perfect scene, yet all the crud leading up to it can make us feel alone, depressed and used.
Does it have to be traditional?
When our society changes, many of those old traditions fall by the wayside. The one important thing, in my opinion, is the gathering. Time flies and with it many of the old things need to be revised. It isn’t always possible to travel. If we can manage to get together at least once a year, the holidays are the perfect time to do so.
New traditions are being made today. We can talk to each other on Face Time and actually see each other. We can text each other and instantly communicate. We don’t even have to cook anymore, because most everything can be delivered to our front door. As we get older, we resist the changes, but maybe these new ways will be the traditions of tomorrow.
“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask ‘Why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?’ Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: tradition!”
Tevye, “FIDDLER ON THE ROOF”
And so begins the onset of the holiday traditions. We all have our own fami