Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tradition - New? Old? Or both?

As I've pondered this post, I keep hearing voices in my head ...

Tradition, tradition! Tradition!
Tradition, tradition! Tradition!

Of course, that's Tevye and the rest of the cast of Fiddler on the Roof,  one of my all-time favorite musicals. The song goes on to talk about the family and cultural traditions relevant to the story.

So ... what is tradition? The Free Dictionary tells us that tradition is "A time-honored practice or set of such practices". 

I like that! You notice it doesn't say that a practice or custom has to be generations old to qualify as a tradition. This means we have flexibility to establish new traditions, which is a good thing. I'm just briefly going to share two of our family traditions, one that we established as a young family, some 25 years ago, the other which I just began last year and hope to nurture into a full-fledged tradition.

For the first twelve years that we were married, even after our daughter was born, we traveled some 650 miles one way to spend Christmas with my family, through the West Virginia mountains, across the Pennsylvania turnpike. In rain, sleet, ice, snow, we traveled on. Then one year we decided it was time to establish our own grown up traditions.

The first one we created was our Christmas Eve Tea. Prior to going to the early Christmas Eve service at our church, I would prepare tea goodies in the tradition (there's that word again!) of a high British tea. When we arrived home from church, all we had to do was start the kettles and brew the tea and we were ready. Many years later, after she was married, my daughter told me this is her all-time favorite family tradition.

Then last year, I began a tradition of my own. In addition to keeping a written gratitude journal for the month of November, I joined the gratitude group on Flickr. Although the journaling thing didn't last too long after November, I found that practicing gratitude enriched me. This year I decided to keep my November gratitude journal on my personal blog, Camper.

The four images you see above are some of my photos from this year, showing gratitude for: 1. the lovely fall colors in our area; 2. our "new" back porch; 3. our home; and finally, 4. the privilege of voting in a free election. If you visit my blog, you'll learn about more about why I've chosen to be grateful for these, and other, things. 

I love the theme that Claudia has chosen because the months of November and December are so rich with plentiful and varied traditions. What could be more appropriate for our focus on life than these customs? Please share your photos and your stories with us on our Flickr page.


Jeanne said...

Traditions are so wonderful, and a gratitude journal is a wonderful thing to do. Really changes your perspective on life!

heyjudephotography said...

I love this Dotti. And I will hop on over to Camper when I'm done here. We did the same as you, always driving in sleet and snow to spend Christmas Day upstate with my parents and the rest of the family, even when we had already celebrated together prior to Christmas day. It was the nicest thing when we decided that we needed to start our own Christmas Day traditions in our own home. We still celebrate with my whole family,just not on Christmas Day. Your Christmas Eve tea tradition sounds lovely, and to tell you the truth, I may just try that this Christmas Eve in place of the snacks and Christmas cookies that we usually do.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

For years I have kept a gratitude journal. I changed from a day to day journal to focusing on ONLY my blessings and I feel it made my life take a marked turn.

I find it also so interesting that traditions often center around Food... the comforts of life. Love your "over the river and through the snow... " tradition. Perfect.

Now apparently my new tradition is to go into moarning after Election day! hahha!


Linda said...

I love your tradition of tea on Christmas Eve! Things do get so busy on that day and it's hard to find time to just sit around the table and enjoy the company around it!
I think that we all have traditions that we may not even be aware of! Things that we do just because we have always done them and love them! I love we will be able to celebrate our traditions this month!


Dotti said...

Jeanne - It's so nice to have you visit us here at FOL! I always love your comments.

Dotti said...

Hi, Judy! Isn't it great to finally "grow up" and make your own holiday traditions? It's hard, but it needs to happen at some point. If you decide to do the Christmas Eve tea, let me know. I'll give you some ideas.

Dotti said...

Hi, Claudia! I think focusing on gratitude and the positive things in our days is amazing medicine for our heads and hearts. So glad you've learned so much from it. Yes ... most traditions do seem to revolve around food, don't they?

Dotti said...

Hi, Linda! It does make for a couple of busy days for me but I love doing it, knowing we'll all enjoy it so much. But I confess that when it's time to clear the table, I always think, Is that it? :-D

terriporter said...

Whew, crazy day but am finally getting a chance to pop in here and I'm so glad I did! Family traditions, especially the ones that revolve around the holidays, are so special. Some of ours have been passed down and some are completely new with us. Love them all! Love your Christmas Eve tea idea and that Kristin said it is her favorite! Makes you want to keep going to all the trouble just for her but I'm sure everybody else enjoys it as well. This is going to be a fun month sharing all of our traditions with each other. Might pick up some ideas for new ones along the way!

Kim Stevens said...

We, for sooo many year would drive 1200 miles to visit our family in the Chicago area even when the kids were babies, but it's gotten a little more difficult to do that in the past few years so it's just the four of us. A Christmas tea sounds like so much fun, and that's how I feel after making the whole digs for Thanksgiving when it's just the four of us - that's it?! But we do it every year.... :) xo Kim

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