Dengler Domain: Christmas Traditions


What makes Christmas one of the best holidays is not the gifts, not the eerily similar meal to Thanksgiving, but the traditions. Of all the holidays, everyone has a variety of traditions they do as a group or individual. Whether it is the Christmas spirit or seeing old friends and family, it makes this holiday unique.

One great tradition is looking at Christmas light displays. No matter where you live, there are always great displays. This is the best time to be alive. In the past, one could drive for hours to find the best displays. In the smartphone era, looking up the best displays in your area is much easier. This results in a more efficient process. Only problem is more people know about where the good displays are so the wait for the lights might be longer.

On the other hand, Christmas caroling does not seem as popular as what one sees in television shows and films. Rarely have I seen a caroling group out on the street. If it was a group, opposed to what the shows and films show, it is a local music group, not a group of family and friends who enjoy doing it. Seeing more people out caroling would be cool, but it does not add up that most people enjoy this tradition as we are led to believe.

Another tradition which lacks the real-life application of it is hanging a mistletoe. Never have I hung or been in a house with a mistletoe. This popular trope in television and films where the main characters share their kiss does not appear to be so in real life. Mistletoe is also a plant. I had zero idea. I assumed someone found some grass and twigs, and bam – mistletoe. Never knew because I have never been around one.

Christmas letters are an immensely popular tradition. A few weeks before Christmas, letters appear in my mailbox. While most have traditioned away from letters into card form, it is still impressive how many people participate in this tradition. It is a practical tradition as people catch up old friends and distant relatives about the happenings in their lives. Receiving any Christmas card results in a happy feeling of being included and it feels good to be included.

The best tradition I participate in is frosting cookies with mom. I cannot remember the exact year when we started this tradition, but since I was a wee little youth, I have always enjoyed this tradition. By frosting cookies, I mean my mom frosts the cookies and I decorate the cookies. My decoration skills are not very skill. Until now, no one would know this besides people close to me and Mrs. Betts. My artistic skills are on par with a dog. I have none. While the cookies end up with zero design but a lot of toppings and decorations, the time spent with my mom is what counts. Being able to catch up is my favorite part. It is not about the quality of the cookies, but the quality of the conversation. For any tradition like this, it is good to spend this time talking more thoroughly about topics we would normally only have a quick conversation about.

Therefore, traditions matter. It is not about what you are doing, but about how you enjoy who you are with or if you are by yourself, your alone time. Slowing down from a busy life and spending time with a loved one or friend can build the soul and life experience. While the holidays can make for a hectic schedule, these traditions are a built-in strategy to slow down time and live in the present. I hope you find joy in your tradition or start a new one. It will be worth it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!