Not all traditions happen on purpose. Some happen by accident and some develop over time.
When I was nine years old, my parents bought a stereo system, complete with a five-disc CD changer, just in time for Christmas. Two of the first albums they purchased were Johnny Mathis’ Merry Christmas and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. We eventually added Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas, Celine Dion’s These are Special Times, and Andy Williams’ Christmas album.
The songs on those albums were the soundtrack to home movies of Christmas morning with my family. When I hear any of them on the radio, I feel warm and fuzzy, remembering when I ripped the paper off of Mall Madness and the latest Leonardo DiCaprio movie.
Those albums are even on an iTunes playlist, so I can still listen to them in the same order every Christmas morning. When I hear them, they make me feel good.
Nostalgia makes us happy
The holidays can bring a ton of stress and anxiety. There are parties to plan, presents to buy, and a slew of holiday movies that can’t watch themselves. But the payoff can be magical. The parties celebrate families and friends. The presents are for people you love. And the movies bring entertainment and fun.
For me, I tend to only remember the end result of all the hoopla that surrounds the holidays. I have mostly happy memories from the past 30-plus years of the holidays, and I’m always trying to capture that same nostalgia.
Nostalgia can help you deal with stress and anxiety. It gives you a sense of steadiness that can be grounding.
Why traditions are important
Traditions are important because they give us a sense of belonging. They bring people together. They can be as simple as looking at lights around the neighborhood, making hot cocoa and watching your favorite movie, or attending a religious service, or as big as donating to charity or throwing a holiday get-together.
No matter how crazy things get during this time of year, a tradition can bring about balance and consistency. It’s something you’ll be able to count on to bring you joy. And isn’t that what this season is all about?
What traditions bring you and your family joy?