There are some traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. And other traditions that have simply been made up to serve some political, cultural or outright profitable agendas.
There are many who will argue that fighting endless, pointless and made-up holiday traditions is useless. It’s easier if you just submit.
For example, you might as well hang up your jingle bells on ever trying to stop retailers from putting out Christmas decorations in August, or never listening to “White Christmas” as you buy sunblock in September. Whether it’s Valentines day chocolates, Halloween candy and costumes or any other common holiday – It seems that many modern traditions are rooted in consumerism. Have you ever seen the card isle on Mother’s Day? Yeah. That.
Now, I’m not saying any of these traditions are wrong or bad – you will not see me complaining about getting a couple of bags of candy corn on Halloween or a birthday present or even my favorite cook book from Julia Child. Not. One. Complaint.
What I am pointing out is that we each have an opportunity to create our own traditions that are meaningful to us personally and to our friends and family. A ‘sister’s only’ beach getaway each summer, spa day once a month, monthly lunch with a friend, weekly date nights – you get the idea? There are so many opportunities for us to celebrate, not just holidays but everyday.
Making up your own meaningful traditions can be such fun. One of my husband’s favorites is Birthday month. Seriously! We celebrate all month long by doing small kind things for whom ever is celebrating being born. Breakfast in bed, making favorite recipes, taking a day trip to a favorite local thrift store, visiting with extended family, picking up a new book . . . what ever the birthday person wants. This tradition is a fun way to celebrate the food, places, hobbies as well as the friends and family that is meaningful to the birthday boy or girl.
Recently, my husband and I decided to start our own Christmas tradition . . . hosting a Creole Christmas Dinner for friends and family. Why Creole you ask? Well, when my husband and I got married we took a two part honeymoon and had the chance to visit New Orleans. . . we have been hooked on the gumbo, history and culture ever since.
The inspiration to start this new tradition recently came as my husband and I drove to see a visiting cousin from Baton Rouge. Ironically, as we made our way toward Chapel Hill, it was on APM’s Splendid Table that we discovered calas, brisket and that gumbo was just the start of the meal. Brandon and I listened intently to interviews with ‘Leah Chase of the legendary Dooky Chase Restaurant; journalist Lolis Eric Elie; WWNO’s Poppy Tooker, host of Louisiana Eats!; and mixologist Chris McMillian.
Each one of the guests on the show held our attention by sharing the rich history and culinary celebration that is creole cuisine. As my husband and I chatted in the car, after the Splendid Table road trip to New Orleans was over, we both excitedly agreed that we wanted to join in the rich Creole Christmas traditions. As Poppy Tooker said in her interview, “You have to eat it save it.”
Just this morning we were talking about our first Christmas Eve bonfire, our Creole Christmas menu and discussing if/how we were going to rearrange our living room to make one very large long table so that everyone could sit together for dinner.
Our new tradition resonates with us personally and has a sweetheart connection to when we first got married. Our Creole Christmas is a way to share our passion of food, culture and travel with friends and family each year. I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited about Christmas since I was 6 and still believed in Santa.
Starting your own traditions can be a way to celebrate many things, the most important of all is the time you share with each other.
Do you have your own tradition? What was the inspiration to start it?