My traditions are changing this year.

And I’m thrilled.

(Photo by Karen Long)

When I was a kid, on Christmas Eve night, we’d head over to my Aunt and Uncle’s house, eat homemade lasagna with the whole family, then come back home in time to go to sleep.  We’d wake up early on Christmas morning, open gifts with my parents, eat homemade donuts my dad made, then spend the afternoon at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  That was our tradition.

When I got married, my traditions changed.  Nothing went away…but lots of traditions were added.  On Christmas Eve night, we’d go to a traditional candlelight service in Winchester, TN, then head to my wife’s grandma’s house to eat and exchange gifts.  We’d get back to Clarksville about midnight, wake up and head to my parent’s house to eat homemade donuts made by my dad, then spend the afternoon at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Then we’d head to my wife’s Grandma and Grandpa’s house to finish the day thoroughly exhausted.  Christmas was special…but often felt rushed and hectic.

This year, our traditions are changing again.  In a big way.  Our son is getting to the age where we want to begin crafting his Christmas traditions.  We’re treating Christmas Eve morning as our Christmas morning.  And if our family wants to see Rex (which is the only person they care about in our family, if we were truly honest with each other), they have to come to us.  Christmas Eve night, I’m thrilled to be worshipping for the first time on Christmas Eve with my church family (details HERE).  Christmas will be much more relaxed, yet we’ll still be able to spend time with all of our family.  It’ll just be spread out over a few days.

Traditions change. And that’s okay.  When we’re unwilling to change, it’s easy to work ourselves into a rut.  In that rut, we forget why we do what we do.  And we begin doing things simply because we’ve always done them…getting frustrated with anyone who questions or challenges our traditions.

Traditions change. And they should.  Because we change.  Life doesn’t stay the same.  It takes us through many different roads.  People are added.  Taken away.  And that changes the flavor of our families.

Traditions change. And if you stick so closely to your traditions, you’ll alienate many newcomers.  Take, for instance, my son.  If we were unbending in our holiday routines, he’d always view Christmas as a rushed, tiring, hectic, gifts-focused time.  I don’t want that.

So this holiday season, evaluate why you do what you do.  What is it that you, as a family, value? Don’t just continue the same traditions because you’ve always done them. Because if you’re not careful, your traditions can block you from that which you value.

What is your favorite Christmastime tradition?

Is there something new you’re doing this year?

How do you handle change?