There are a lot of traditions that have built up around this time of year. A tradition is simply a habit that is carried out at the same time, and often the meaning is forgotten in the mists of time. Some of our most treasured traditions are related to a pagan celebration, a family recipe or even a marketing campaign.
Some are a way to connect with family – a recipe for biscuits or gravy that is handed down through the generations. You taste the same cookie of your childhood and for that magical moment your parents are still alive, and you feel the fur of your old dog under your fingers. A time of year when memories strike the hardest, and for many a time of sorrow for lost loved ones. All amidst a society bent on celebrating, a forced good cheer and social activity that may hide a heart black with grief.
Yet all things pass, our own childhoods faster than we realise. We can pass on that recipe and hope that the new memories we make are a salve for the past. The next generation dances past with stars in their eyes and don’t notice the tear that may be in ours.
Christmas is a time of celebration – and its origins are shrouded in time. Was it a pagan celebration of the solstice, or the birth of Jesus? Or both or neither? Perhaps the time of mid winter for the northern hemisphere is a time when people gathered together to share food and hope that the cold would end and they would soon see the earth green once more.
Many of the traditions are only a few hundred years old – advent calendars, cards, trees and gift giving have all become more elaborate from simple beginnings. Even Santa – a version of the European St Nicholas – was used by Coca Cola in an advert in the 1940’s, and the red and white outfit become an instant tradition.
In Australia with the hot summer Christmas, many have seafood instead of roasts, and spend the day at the beach or pool. Santa rides a surfboard in some popular Aldi adverts, and there is a song about Santa and his six white kangaroos instead of reindeer. But we kept the good stuff – presents, mince pies, and trees but unfortunately haven’t managed to avoid carols in shopping centres since October.
So I guess we can all feel free to create our own traditions and discard ones we hate like eggnog or making kids sit on Santa’s lap. It’s been, and will continue to be, some tough times for many, so maybe a little kindness to yourself and others is a fine tradition to start.
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. Free books on Amazon include short stories of romance and assorted writing help books.
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