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.


“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.

Andy Williams, Christmas, Elf on a shelf, Scrooge, tradition, traditions

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