The Spirit Of Christmas Tradition

In Columns, Features, My Life: Straight Up with a Twist by Tashauna Swanson

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Tashauna Swanson

Relief comes from the idea of a new year and a new beginning. New anything is exciting; there is constant promise for the unexpected. Dread comes into play purely out of pressure from the holiday season itself.

I’m not trying to be Grinch-like. I love Christmas, I really do. The meaning of it all has changed for me since I was a kid,

but I think it has for everyone who has reached adulthood. I like getting together with family and friends to enjoy a good meal, flavorful wine, treats, and laughter.

I have gone from being the small child begging to open gifts, to a grown-up who patiently sits back and could honestly care less about opening presents. My priorities have changed over the years, and the whole paper tearing thing pretty much takes more of my effort than I really want to devote to the activity (especially when relatives plaster packages in tape and they know how limited my arm strength is).

Clearly, presents do not need to be wrapped tighter than Fort Knox to make them impossible for me to open. Is it an accident, or a cruel joke? He he.

The holidays should be about family, and overall just having a wonderful time. I think it is obvious this idea has faded far into the background. Christmas is all about mp3 players, cell phones, and gaming systems these days.

Holiday décor begins rolling into stores as early as September to get a jump on the season’s sales. Commercialization is what the holidays are about. Traditionalism flew out the window ages ago. Getting gifts is nice, giving gifts is better, but at the end of the day it is just stuff.

I’m sure for at least one person you buy a gift for during the holidays, you are bewildered about what to buy them because they just happen to be one of those people who has absolutely everything.

If they see something they want, they end up buying it for themselves anyway, so the obvious gift choices have already been eliminated. This is where half of the pressure comes from. What do you get the person who has everything?

Tradition of Holiday Cards

In addition, there are cards to get mailed out, parties to organize, and cookies to bake. Plus, I am not the best planner for the holidays. As of right now, I still haven’t fully realized how few days there really are before Christmas. I haven’t decided on half the gifts I need to buy, nor written out any cards, or purchased anything for a party.

Also, even though I no longer live with my parents, I am being coerced into writing a family Christmas letter. When I am finished with this article, I will then allow myself to fully freak out about everything.

You might say I am one of those last minute people.

In years past, my family’s holiday activities have changed quite a bit, as well as the structure of our extended family tree. I can’t say we have any steadfast traditions that have stood the test of time.

I don’t know a lot of people who do anymore.

Currently, there will be only one family function and it is at the home of my parents on Christmas Eve. I remember having at least three different celebrations to attend as a kid. Running around is what made Christmas really exhausting. It made commuting more annoying when we had to visit houses or apartments that were not accessible.

While I am glad the cold weather traveling is eliminated, there are certain things of days gone by that I miss.

The holidays and nostalgia are somewhat synonymous to me now come to think of it. I realize I spend more time envisioning my Christmas past. Maybe it is because those times were simpler. The spirit of the season surrounded us as we waited for Santa to bring us the toy of our heart’s desire.

The real world had not quite tainted the magic that Christmas is supposed to possess.

My perfect picture of Christmas, and the feelings that go with it will most likely always be attached to family gatherings at the home of my great-grandparents. These events ceased many years ago, but when the holiday season rolls around, these happy times are the first to be conjured up inside my brain.

I’m sure almost everyone has their own perfect image of what the holidays should look like. Mine consist of my great-grandma’s homemade peanut butter cookies with chocolate stars in the centers, and the German rhymes my great-grandpa used to teach me. My cousins and I would play, everyone would eat great food, and it was simply an enjoyable time for all.

Though my mental snapshots in my head have faded, they will still be there years from now. To me, they represent what the season is supposed to be. Hopefully, you have fond memories that do the same for you, whether or not you celebrate Christmas or another holiday.

May these nostalgic remembrances always remind you of the simple treats in life and inspire you to maybe create some new traditions of your own.

Happy Holidays!




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