Family Traditions

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, December 13, 2017
By Ricardo Sardina , LMHC

I remember as a child the excitement of the beginning of the holiday season. The arrival of the Christmas tree was an important event. As a child, I remember our Christmas tree came from a box which we needed to match up the colors of the branches and put them in the right place in order to form the tree. As the Christmas tree was completed, my father would begin to put up the lights, followed by my mother and older siblings putting up the ornaments. Of course, while putting up the ornaments there were moments we would argue concerning the placement of certain figures. By the end of the evening, our home was completely decorated. To me, this time brings up a lot of fond childhood memories with the family during the holidays.

Presently, this tradition continues in my home. As a husband and father, my wife and kids attempt to keep this tradition alive with some changes. Instead, of putting up a Christmas tree from a box, we get a real tree. My wife enjoys the smell of a fresh Christmas tree. She says it reminds her of her childhood during Christmas time. Somethings do not change, especially the disagreeing over the placement of the ornaments and whose turn it is to place the angel on top of the tree. As parents it is our hope that our children will also create fond memories of these traditions. We hope that when they reflect on their childhood, these Christmas memories will be positive memories, and that one day they too will continue these traditions.

It seems to me that not long ago I was matching the colors of the Christmas branches in order to form the tree. Now Christmas has come around once again, and it reminds me of just how quickly times flies.

As for many, the Holidays are the time we start to reflect. Thoughts of spending time with family, things we have accomplished or not gotten around to accomplish, and how another year is coming to an end. It seems like yesterday my wife and I were spending our first Christmas together and 16-years later, with a 13-year old son and an 11-year old daughter, this truly makes me ponder on how quickly times does fly.

As I write, I am reflecting about my childhood during the holiday season. I remember a different time. The holiday meant a time of family and friends. The atmosphere itched with excitement of the holiday spirit and how we wanted to spread the spirt of Christmas on to others. Now it seems that the holidays are beginning earlier and earlier. You start to see Christmas decoration in the stores around Halloween, and you hear Christmas music during the Thanksgiving Holiday and throughout the month of November. Instead of enjoying this special holiday, we are worrying about what gift to buy and how much money we could save. We need to slow things down and get back to our traditions.

Holiday family traditions are basically ritualistic behaviors that comfort us and make us feel that we are part of the family. They are a part of us and it is part of our family dynamics. Holiday family traditions have been around since the beginning of time. It is my belief that these family traditions are significant in forming a strong bond with our family and close friends. In a way, it keeps us in touch with where we came from and it helps us live again those fond childhood memories. Most importantly it helps us share a part of our past and pass it down to the next generation.