I’ve always found it interesting to learn about holiday traditions and what different families, cultures, and groups do to celebrate. I grew up in a conventional family where we always spent Thanksgiving at my aunt’s, Christmas Eve at my uncle’s, Christmas Day at my house, and so on. My grandma did Easter baskets and a hunt every year, and birthdays involved ice cream cake and presents.
As my cousins and I grew up, we began bringing significant others around, or even ditching our own family’s plans for our partner’s celebration. I enjoyed the feel of bringing new people into our homes and switching things up. When I was in college, a close friend of mine started spending Christmas with my family because he wasn’t close to his. December is now one of my favorite times, not only because I get to travel home, but I also get to visit with my friend I see once a year. Christmas just doesn’t feel right without him now. I love that it’s a holiday custom that we’ve blended along the way.
I have another friend whose family opens all their presents on Christmas Eve and then spends Christmas Day at an amusement park. So fun, right? Or people who use Thanksgiving as a time to instead give back, and eat and serve at a shelter. I once saw a movie where the kid got to eat his birthday cake for breakfast which seemed totally acceptable. As for my family, the Easter Bunny always gave us bathing suits as a start to warmer weather.
One of the best parts of the holidays—to me—is that they come with the ability to create your own traditions. Even if you didn’t grow up in a tight-knit family, you can choose to spend holidays with friends who’ve turned into family. You can add in quirky practices even if you have a traditional family who has been doing the same thing for decades. Basically, you make the holidays whatever you want and I love that. Whether you spend them in church, with people you’ve just met, or in your parents’ living room, to me it’s simply a time of gathering and focusing on who you’re with.
I can’t wait to someday start a family and create holiday traditions while continuing with old ones. I definitely want to incorporate volunteering since that wasn’t something I grew up doing, and to keep the big meals and bathing suits going, too. Oh, and I’ll take the cake for breakfast.
How do you like to spend your holidays? What’s your favorite tradition or one that you want to eventually embrace?