As we barrel toward Christmas and the rest of the holiday season, one thing seems clear. This is the time of year when traditions loom large in how we think about and go about celebrating the season.
Traditions are rituals, stories, beliefs, customs, and routines that we share and pass on. They can be cultural, familial or religious, and families and communities tend to observe them in unique ways. It’s the traditions we observe, and all that goes into them, both big and small, that tend to create lasting memories.
There’s an argument which holds that traditions are important, and beneficial, parts of our lives. In this perspective, we intentionally create and maintain traditions because they provide a sense of belonging and meaning to our lives. They nurture connection and give us comfort.
But is there a downside to tradition? What happens when maintaining a tradition feels more like a requirement or obligation than something genuinely enjoyable? Or when traditions become a source of stress rather than enjoyment?
With all of this in mind, we’re going to talk about the role of traditions in our lives. While we’ll root our discussion in holiday traditions, we will also think about traditions more generally. So here are some of the questions we’ll engage with:
How important do you think traditions are in terms of how you celebrate the holidays? What about during the rest of the year? What role do traditions play then? Are the ones you embrace traditions that have been handed down to you, or are they ones you’ve created? Are there traditions that you’ve jettisoned over the years? If so, why? Are there traditions you maintain even though, like in the cartoon above, you don’t really like them anymore? Are there any that you’d like to bring back into your celebrations? Generally speaking, do you agree that traditions are important and beneficial, or do you subscribe to a more critical view?
We’ll talk all about this, and, as we always do, other stuff as well in our conversation tomorrow evening, Tuesday Dec. 5. Join us for the discussion beginning at 7pm at Casa Real in downtown Oxford.