As this story is posted, we are approaching the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. For much of our country, the winter holidays are a study in excess, with a strong emphasis on consumerism.
It’s certainly true that retail businesses make a big chunk of their money in the winter holiday season. And we are certainly rooting for a strong holiday season for retailers, because they make up about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.
But we don’t personally have to give in to the commercial aspects of these holidays — or any holiday, for that matter.
Many holidays have their roots in religious tradition. Christmas, Hanukkah and Easter certainly fall into that category.Others have more to do with pagan or pre-Christian traditions. And some, such as Thanksgiving, Labor Day or Valentine’s Day, are relatively modern creations.
But whatever the holiday, you can add depth and meaning to it by establishing new family traditions. Traditions cultivate connection between immediate family members and between generations.
For Christmas, author Karen H. Whiting suggests using the stockings as symbols of how God has filled us with his spirit. In her family, each family member explains how something in his or her stocking serves as a reminder of God’s goodness.
For Hanukkah, you might consider de-emphasizing the gifts. Instead of eight nights of gifts, make some of the nights family fun nights; the “gift” could be a skit, reading or presentation for other family members.
Of course this applies year-round. Don’t settle for the cookie-cutter traditions that society encourages. Find true meaning for your family, and give them memories for life.