The holidays are a time when many of us honor our most heartfelt traditions. Those traditions usually revolve around our families, our spirituality, and our religion. Sometimes our traditions are deeply intimate. Sometimes they are light and fun. Whatever they are, our traditions are meant to bring us joy and satisfaction.
Yet joy and satisfaction may be in short supply with the stress the holidays often bring. Of course, stress comes when money and/or time are limited. Limitations cause us to revisit our options. Revisiting our traditions is something we should do from time to time. We may want to discontinue a tradition, start a new one, or put one on hold.
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Some of our family’s favorite traditions have been having our main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, always buying the girls matching ornaments, and eating a special family cottage cheese pie on New Year’s Day. A quarter is hidden in the crust of the pie and whoever finds it has good luck all year.
Our special pie, Zelnik, is a Macedonian dish that my mother made every New Year’s Day while I was growing up, just as her mother did for her. My son-in-law has never been a big fan of it, so for while I also made spinach pie to go along with Zelnik. Just last year I adopted a revision of the Zelnik recipe that my niece, Nicole, came up with. (Now I make one of each pie).This year I’m considering not buying matching ornaments now that my youngest daughter is nearing 18 and the others are already long since moved out of the house.
When the kids were all younger, we often went on vacation for the Thanksgiving break. Now we generally stay home since we can’t all get away at the same time. So we’ve been doing Black Friday for 7 or 8 years now. (We even did a Target run after Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago on a family trip to Savannah). When I suggested maybe it’s time to stop this shopping tradition, I was definitely met with opposition!
I usually have a hard time letting go of tradition too. But the reality is that our children grow, our circumstances change, and our lives march on. When I think about whether or not to continue a tradition I usually remind myself of things like: If I miss a tradition I stop, I can always restart it; I can modify the tradition, I don’t have to ditch it altogether; does this tradition bring joy and satisfaction?
I’m not sure what I’m going to do about the ornaments. I actually already purchased this year’s ornaments last year when I came across a great clearance sale so I’ll let the idea swirl around my head until next year.
I did, however, decide to bring back a tradition we had discontinued. When we used to celebrate the holidays with my in-laws, my mother- in- law always brought along Polish Kielbasa and chrusciki, a powdered sugar-coated Polish cookie. After my mother-in-law passed away and we stopped seeing my in-laws as much at the holidays, we stopped having these holiday treats. I decided to bring these traditions back because even if we can’t see my in-laws every Christmas anymore, at least these items will bring back fond memories of our holidays together. I’m sure they’ll bring us immense joy and satisfaction.
Please let me know some of the traditions you’ve revisited, discontinued, or new ones you’ve started!
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