Christmas traditions. How do you see them?

Not too terribly long ago, Rachel and I spent a week in the Caribbean. I guess you could say somewhat of a new tradition for us.

On our latest outing, we took a little time to do some snorkeling (yes, it was a balmy 85 degrees while temperatures back home were hovering in the 40’s – sorry had to rub it in a little!). Even though the temperature was perfect, the winds and seas were pretty rough, which made for some tough snorkeling. As a result, we were constantly fighting a stiff, strong current. This brought back thoughts of my childhood ventures to the beach and all the caution of rip tides, the strong currents that flow back to sea and can take you along if you’re not careful.

As kids, we were always told not to fight these currents because they would always win. Instead, the advice is to just ride the current out and it will eventually weaken to the point you would be able to swim out of it. Albeit a little nerve-racking, especially to our parents who would occasionally look up from their books and start hollering that we were too far out, it is sound advice. These childhood experiences in the surf have always stayed with me and have always given me respect for ocean currents, their strength, and how fighting them is never prosperous.

Currents of change.

Alastair Sim as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, about to discover a new tradition.

Once our snorkeling adventure had ended, we were back on the beach enjoying a beverage though Rachel was tending to a wound on her leg caused by a piece of coral and wondering, “will this leave a scar?” My thoughts drifted (no pun intended) to the strong currents.

And I’m not sure why, maybe it was from recent events in our lives, but my thoughts drew a parallel between the currents we had just swum through and change. Yes, that’s right, currents and change. They are:

  • inevitable

  • occur constantly

  • more evident sometimes than other times

  • one is never prosperous when we fight them

Okay, so what does this have to do with traditions?

three ugly christmas sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweaters. A tradition we can all do without.

Can we not think of traditions as capturing something from the past and repeating it through time? That is, keeping something constant (not changing) over-time?

Now before I go any further, please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to put down traditions. I think they are wonderful things; however, if you think of a tradition as a constant through time with everything else around it changing, then I think you can also see that there are times when it may be best to let old traditions slide and adopt new ones. When you think back to when a tradition started, there was most likely a very good reason it started. It worked for everyone involved at the time.

Check this out too: How the Civil War Changed Christmas in America

However, I’ve seen cases where families and even businesses become so possessive of traditions, they lose sight of the “here and now.” When this occurs, traditions end up having the exact opposite effect than that which they were intended and started.

Holding onto tried and true traditions especially this time of year can cause stress and tensions – which leads to unhappiness. This should be a time of

The dreaded elf on the shelf

great happiness in our lives … Don’t let what you perceive to be “required” traditions get in your way of letting happiness and joy happen. And that’s the best tradition there is!

Soulful Quote:

Sometimes trying to retrofit the past into the present can be like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Song:

“I’ll be Home for Christmas,” sung by Andy Williams (This particular recording offers the very seldom-heard verse too).

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Look at your traditions, are they causing too much stress? If so, think of some new ones. You’ll find how excited people get when they realize they are starting a new tradition.

The Key to a Great Holiday Season, the 4 Pillars. Here they are.

Festive or Fearful?

This time of year is considered a joyous time of year. Christmas. Chanukah. Kwanzaa. Solstice (Winter Holidays around the world). It’s a festive time with family and friends. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of year filled with stress, anguish, and pain. So, whether this is a time you find festive or you fear it, it is definitely a time of year filled with emotion. So, what better time to practice conquering those emotions than the “most wonderful time of the year.”

The Four Pillars

When my emotions start to get the best of me, I like to rely on what I call my 4 pillars. These four pillars are Peace, Joy, Love, & Hope, which by the way, are also the four weeks/candles of Advent. If you think about it, these 4 pillars are great guiding principles to carry with us year-round.

  • Peace. I often think of peace as in war and worldly peace, but what about peace in our own hearts? Do we hold grudges, or are we envious of what we do not possess?
  • Joy. Living with joy is living the happiness lifestyle that we often refer to. I like to call joy the fruit of living happy.
  • Love. The center piece of our existence.
  • Hope. A word, I think, we all rely on from time-to-time in our lives. Hope carries us through times in which Peace, Joy, and Love seem to escape us.

Rachel and I hope that you make this Christmas season the best you have ever had. For it is, the only one you have! This is an especially good time of the year to practice the “Don’t Be A Cow!” lifestyle.

Soulful Quote: Tis only a moment in time that I am present in this world, may it be filled with Peace, Joy, Love and Hope, and more Peace, Joy, and Love than Hope!

Song: “Carol of the Bells,” performed by Mannheim Steamroller is my favorite version but there are many. And, if you haven’t heard this one before, take a listen. It is unique, bright and definitely “uncow!”

 

Game Exercise/Life Changer: Say Peace, Joy, Love and Hope 3 times everyday from now through Christmas Day.

The Great Transformation. It has begun.

The Great Transformation. Why, why, why? Do so many who seem to be so normal for 11 months out of the year, transform into crazy people at Thanksgiving … then Black Friday … Cyber Monday! And, now it’s in full swing. Suddenly normal is something different than it was just a few days prior. It’s hard to explain, but let’s just say that the “Walking Dead” has nothing on this week of Transformation.

Remember:

  • Tickle Me Elmo?
  • Cabbage Patch Dolls?
  • X Box 4 (Pick a Number)?

The fights, the stampedes; all in the ruse of celebrating the birth of peace! All come and go, yet there’s always the “newest new thing” to create a stampede over? And for what?

All because:

  • Your kid has to have this;
  • Your spouse must have that;
  • You must cook this, that way;
  • I bet you can list a hundred more!

Please, please, please! This Christmas season above and beyond anything else:

Don’t Be A Cow! Be You!

This is the guiding light that will never fail you. For if you look at it in the proper perspective, this transformation is nothing more than cowism. That is getting you to be anything but you.

Soulful Quote:There is nothing more powerful and inspiring than being you!

Song: “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby. Irving Berlin (1940).

Game Exercise/Life Changer: Write in large print, on a sheet of paper, “I am not a cow!” Look at it every morning.