Learn Now Music, Inc.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Importance of Holiday Traditions

When thinking about our past experiences, holiday traditions are often some of the strongest memories that we possess. Think back to some of your fondest memories and you will probably conjure up some images and feelings related to holidays that you experienced as a child. Memory is our ability to store, retain and recall specific information and experiences. There are two types of cognitive memory, short-term and long-term. Long-term memory is the strongest of the two. It has the most staying power and oftentimes can last a lifetime. It makes sense that parents would prefer to give their children experiences that are retained and stored in long-term memory. Establishing a family tradition for Thanksgiving and Christmas is the most successful method of providing cherished long-term memories for your children. While most of us are unable to remember every detail related to our memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas from childhood, it is a good bet that we do remember the traditions that were established by our parents. Some of these traditions that were established may include the following: Was Thanksgiving a big family gathering at your grandparent’s house? Was the menu the same year after year? What was your favorite food? What was the normal course of events for the holiday? Were gifts at Christmas opened on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning? Where were the Christmas festivities held? Was there a traditional Christmas dinner? Was there a long car ride or plane trip to reach your destination? Did the family help with decorating the tree? Was the Christmas tree real or artificial? As parents, it is vitally important that we ‘set the stage’ for our children’s memories of the holiday season by establishing holiday traditions. The details of these traditions should remain as consistent as possible from year to year. The Thanksgiving dinner menu should be the same. The place where the dinner is held should be the same. The time of opening gifts should be the same. The type of Christmas tree and the decorations should be the same. These events are so important to our children that they will often remember the specific course of events. Any deviation from this ‘schedule’ can be upsetting to a child as he or she builds their memory of these specific traditions. Children want and need consistency. Parents should strive to make these traditions as consistent as possible. Sometimes, these events can be traumatic for newlyweds and those beginning traditions for the first time for their new child. Each one of us has our own memories of the way Thanksgiving and Christmas should be. It is important that new couples and new families talk about their desires for these events. This gives the foundation for each individual family to use their memories to build new traditions that are particular to their new family. There is no right or wrong holiday tradition. Use what you know and build on it. Make it personal to your family. Make it special. Make it memorable. When you accomplish this, you will bless your children with wonderful memories that they will keep and treasure for a lifetime.

No comments:

Post a Comment