I loved flipping through this month’s gallery and seeing how different each of our holiday traditions are—and how similar! From the nearly-universal to the wildly unique, holiday traditions shape our experiences in ways that influence our very perception of the events.
Which mean they are definitely worth documenting!
The go-to way for writing about traditions is the simple description: every Christmas Eve, we have the tradition of opening new pajamas. But there are so many other journaling possibilities! Here are 10 different ways to write about your holiday traditions beyond simply describing them.
1. Write about the origins of the tradition. When did it first start? Whose idea was it? How did family members initially respond to the idea?
2. Write about the small parts that make up the whole of the tradition. What things about the tradition do you hope are never forgotten? What qualities are unique to your family's interpretation of the tradition?
In this layout, I could've just written "we always open stockings first" and left it at that, but I also included some smaller details: where the stockings came from, what is usually in them, and where we put them. This creates a fuller picture of the stocking tradition:
3. Write about the foodie details. Food traditions are especially appealing because everyone loves eating! Where did the recipe come from? How have you altered it? What special ingredients do you buy?
4. Write about your behind-the-scenes efforts in carrying out the tradition. What methods do you use? How has it almost gone wrong? What people are involved in making it happen? For example, Santa traditionally leaves a new book under the tree for everyone. Picking these out takes much cross-referencing, Amazon surfing, and talking to other moms about books their kids like.
5. Write about how the tradition has changed over time. Take those Christmas-eve pajamas: for about five years, I always sewed them myself, but somehow I feel too busy lately! Even time-honored traditions change subtly over the years.
In her gallery layout, Aliza wrote about how her son's wish lists have evolved over the years:
6. Write about how people respond differently to the tradition. Another Christmas-Eve necessity in our house is reading aloud the nativity story from the Bible. One of my kids rolls his eyes when we do this, another (the one who is always moving) sits perfectly still, enraptured.
7. Write about occasional traditions. Some things are traditions, but only sometimes. Maybe your family grows out of them, or the tradition gets too small, or it only works some years. For example, some years at my house Santa writes a letter or two and leaves it in a stocking. Some years he’s just too darn tired!
8. Write about your childhood traditions. It’s easy to focus on your life right now, but part of what makes the holidays special is how they remind us of the past. What traditions were your favorite as a child? Have you implemented any of them in your grown-up life? Even if you don’t have a photograph from that time—write about them anyway!
Diane did just that in her gallery layout:
9. Write about your holiday music traditions. When do you start listening to holiday music? What are your favorites? How do you implement music traditions? How do they influence your holiday emotions?
10. Write about how you feel about the tradition. Do you ever begrudge doing it or wish you could stop? Does it connect you to a certain time or person from your past in ways no one might guess? Does the tradition make you feel a certain type of happiness?