In college, I had a professor who said that the holiday season around Christmas and New Year was a time of remembrance. Christmas is a time steeped in tradition while New Year’s marks the passing of another year. It seems pretty convenient that these two holidays mesh so closely together. One a reminder of the past, and the other a reminder of the future.
Christmas is my favorite holiday. What is yours? What holiday traditions does your family share?
Maybe it is decorating the house and putting up a Christmas tree as a family, or perhaps, it is making cookies with your kids or grandkids. Maybe it is shopping locally to pick out the perfect present for each loved one or driving around town with your family to look at the Christmas lights. Possibly, your family does Secret Santa to exchange gifts or simply gets together to share a meal and visit.
Looking back, what stands out in my memory from Christmas' growing up is playing with my cousins during our family's Christmas Eve get-together. For years, no matter how cold it was, we would all play hide and seek or ride through the woods on four-wheelers. Only one cousin ever received an injury thanks to our holiday fun, a broken arm from a four-wheeler accident.
Christmas is more than presents, although presents are certainly a fun part of the holiday. However, any Christmas or holiday memory I have is centered around the friends and family I shared it with.
Gathered around a tree with ornaments collected through the years, making favorite holiday dishes, and watching the same Christmas movies are just a few ways we hold on to the past. Every Christmas might not look the same as kids grow up, families expand or diminish, or the year itself, like this year, may call for a change in rhythm. Even so, small traditions offer a sense of warmth amidst the changing season and the close of another year.
New Year’s sparks excitement for some and trepidation for others. Perhaps, it depends on the year and what has happened in the previous year. After 2020, the year 2021 might be approached with a mixture of emotions. The year 2020 brought more than we bargained for, and while no one knows what the new year might hold, there is still a sense of hope a new year brings. A door closes and another one opens.
Throughout this holiday season as we reflect on years past and remember the funny stories from Christmas parties and family get-togethers, maybe a few sad stories too, may we also remember the reason for the season. May we also be filled with hope as we walk into the next year.
I wish you all a happy holiday season full of fun and blessings. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.