As we move from American Thanksgiving into December and holiday time, let’s talk about the legacy of family traditions. This is dear to my heart right now because a year ago, this last weekend, I found out that my father only had 3 months left to live. And my first reaction … well actually my second reaction … was to drive hard into the family traditions of Christmas … to make that Christmas special, memorable, sacred, and precious. Not just for my father, because we knew it was his last, but for all of us, because it’s one we will remember forever.
Even in the midst of all of the insanity that comes with being told that death is on the doorstep, I took the time to think about what Christmas meant for me. What was really important? And I acknowledged all the little things that are unique to my family (you know the ones, you have some, too!), and really dressed them up.
Even though it was probably the worst apple pie in my life (I don’t think the salt water and the tears I shed while I was making it helped any), it was made with such love and such care because I was making it for him. And even though he could barely hold the fork to eat it, the gratitude and appreciation in his eye made it all worthwhile.
Traditions become legacy, right down to the ones that seem crazy or silly. In honouring them and keeping them present, we honour our family and our ancestors, and we keep their memory alive. This Christmas will be hard, and as a result we’ve chosen to bring all of our traditions and do something completely different, so that last year’s Christmas stands alone in our memories.
So many traditions bug us … so and so left all the shopping till the last minute so I’m stuck wrapping their stuff at the last minute! Or why do we all have to go look for the tree together?!
But somehow the traditions that make us crazy make it perfect. Identify and see what’s good about them, even if they make you crazy. And for the ones you already appreciate, lean into them, and let them wrap you like a warm blanket.
Ok, over to you:
What traditions do you want to turn into a legacy?