This post is for letter “T” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
I once heard a tale of a woman who cut the Thanksgiving turkey in half before cooking. One year her husband asked why she did that. “Because that’s the way my mom cooked the turkey.” One day when visiting with her mother, the woman asked, “Why do you cook the turkey in half before roasting it?” Her mom’s simple reply, “The oven is too small for the whole turkey.”
This funny little tale shows how traditions can start and be carried on.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English defines tradition as “That which is handed down from age to age by oral communication.” Traditions can be said to be the glue that holds one generation to the next. In fact, another definition in Webster”s dictionary is “That which is handed down from age to age by oral communication.” It goes on to explain it is “from forefather to descendants.”
Holiday memories are traditions
We often associate traditions with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our warmest memories from childhood are from the annual rituals. And we want to recreate those memories for our children.
Yes, for some the memories of childhood, whether Christmas or otherwise, are not so fond. In that case, new memories are created with different traditions.
Spouses bring their own traditions into a marriage. Sometimes these customs are joined together easily. Other times, not so much. It may be easy to concede that Thanksgiving dinner can be ham rather than turkey. But there’s no way anyone is giving up the banana pudding. I think one of the most fought over traditions is gift opening: on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day, one gift on Christmas Eve the rest on Christmas Day, and so on.
There are other special practices throughout the year as well. Some families have a special birthday plate for the birthday person, special rituals for the first day school, or the family Fourth of July picnic.
Not often thought as traditions are the everyday things. Our family has ice cream almost every evening. When I was a child, we had ice cream nearly every evening. My grandchildren know when they visit Granny and Papa, there will be ice cream nearly every evening.
My daughter recently traveled to Germany. She may have found the reason for this ritual. The folks in Germany have an ice cream break in the afternoon, much like the English afternoon tea. My mother’s side of the family is from Germany. This simple thing is a glue that connects our family to our roots.
How important are traditions? We are told twice in the New Testament to “hold to the traditions which you were taught” (2 Th. 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2). For Christians, these traditions are not whether to cut the turkey in half or eat ice cream in the evening. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:3 what this tradition is: Christ died our sins.
No matter what else we pass on to our children this holiday season, we need to be sure we pass on this tradition. We can have fun with gift giving and favorite desserts. But it’s for naught if we forget the traditions that we have been taught through the Scripture — the tradition of Christ.
What is a tradition you have carried on from your
What new tradition has your family started?
When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches and writes. Susan’s passion is to inspire her audience with practical, real-world solutions. She brings her trademark realistic and encouraging messages to conferences, retreats, and small groups. Her books include Science in the Kitchen, Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. You can read more of Susan’s practical solutions at www.practicalinspirations.com
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