Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

I Am Grateful For Holiday Traditions

I started out this week on a note of frustration. There was one week to go until Christmas and my office was filled with boxes of cards, boxes of client gifts, and lots of nothing seeming to get done. I was remembering last year, in early January, how I thought to myself that before I knew it, the holiday season and end of the year would be right around the corner. And here I was, sitting at that very corner, feeling overwhelm and experiencing a lot of “Bah Humbug.” “Why do we put ourselves through this every year?” became the refrain of the unwelcome chorus in my head.

So, as I do with most things, I made a big list and then started prioritizing the items. Long story short, I made my way through all the communications and even managed to order some personal New Year’s cards which I hope to get mailed out next week. I put on some holiday music to help me whistle while I worked. And now, the amazing thing, is that a lot of the list is done, and I am now feeling pretty good about this ritual of sending cards and notes out at this time of year.

Our lives are happening at jet speed these days. We rely on social media to keep up with what many of our friends and family members are up to. The typical greeting, when we actually talk to someone, is to exchange hellos and then share how busy we are. That seems to be the new small talk. But to me, sitting down at the kitchen table with a pile of hand-addressed holiday cards and a cup of hot tea is a sheer delight. I was relishing the fact that all my friends personally sign their cards as well as jot down a short personal note to my family and me. Some include a letter outlining their adventures this past year, often with a few photos scattered in. And I enjoy it all, particularly the hand written note, in ink, that was written personally to me. It’s a gift of tradition that hasn’t been replaced by email, texting, or tweeting.

Thank goodness for these customs, no matter how time consuming, that seem to live on from generation to generation. I was talking with a client yesterday who told me that she recently had lunch with the new wife of her nephew in order to explain to her “how” Christmas is done in their family. It’s a huge event and they have so many traditions that this new wife needed a debriefing before approaching the holiday season! She said, “my mother really drives this and after she passes away it may change, but I hope that the rest of us continue to keep up these traditions.”

In thinking about that, I realize that traditions; birthdays, anniversary celebrations, holiday traditions and other family and cultural celebrations, give a sense of order and meaning in our lives. It allows us to connect and celebrate with our families and communities, to be part of a greater cultural and historical trend. And this indeed is something to be grateful for this time of year.

Happy Holidays my friends!

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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