Traditions and Memories

What makes the holidays so wonderful?

Is it the gifts? Spending time with family and friends? Going to parties, having feasts, or celebrating with once-a-year treats like sugar cookies and eggnog? There are so many reasons why the holidays bring us so much joy. All of the reasons I’ve listed above are great reasons to look forward to the holidays. But if you look a little closer, what is it about these things that bring us good feelings?

Spending time with people we love.

Whether you’re sharing moments, meals, or exchanging gifts, many of us carry traditions from year to year. Some come from our childhoods; others we’ve created on our own. Traditions are about how we share ourselves with others, even during those times when we cannot be with the ones we care about, when time angiography separates us.

These traditions fulfill us in a way that nothing else really can. One tradition that I really enjoy is sending out Christmas cards. During some years, when I had been too sick, or our finances were too tight, or things are just too crazy to get them done, I felt the loss. What is admittedly a small gesture brings me great joy. We all lead such busy lives, and sending cards gives me the opportunity to interact with someone, even if I cannot see their face or hear their voice.

Cards, mailing labels, red and green pens - I'm ready!

Cards, mailing labels, red and green pens – I’m ready!

I know how excited I feel when we receive a Christmas card in the mail, I wonder if others feel the same. The first thing I do is look at the hand writing to see if I recognize it. I especially love any card that has a photo or a hand-written note. I love seeing how much people’s families have grown and how much their kids have grown up. I also enjoy reading messages that someone took the time to write. I always tape the cards on the entryway to the living room.

Creating tags and groups makes it easier for the following year.

Creating tags and groups makes it easier for the following year.

I keep a running list of card recipients in my Contact book on my computer/phone. That way, I can easily see who I sent a card to last year and update any new addresses. It gives me the luxury to take the time to think about each person. Last night, I found myself ready to write my Grandmother’s address on an envelope. She passed away in January. I always wrote her card in Italian. I don’t think that I’ll ever remove her address from my contact list. Of course, since she lived in the same house that she moved into when my dad’s family emigrated from Italy fifty-seven years ago, and I lived next door to my Grandparents for the first 10 years of my life, I doubt that I will ever forget the address. Traditions are what keep our legacy alive. Even though Ken and I don’t have our own children, I know that the love and the moments we’ve shared with our friends and family will live on in their memories. It’s why I make sure that my nieces and nephews know how much we love them, and why I make an effort to let people know what they mean to me. Traditions are simply memories incarnate. So make them. Share them. Treasure them. They’re the biggest gift we can give or receive.

Happy Holidays!

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