With the temperature dropping and enthusiasm for the holidays rising, families around the world look forward to participating in their favorite Christmas traditions.
Traditions often stem from a long line of family values and celebrations, but can also be created each year. Folk traditions include family meals, cheesy celebrations, cheesy fun games, or even sentimental moments of prayer.
Some families get into the holiday spirit with the annual tradition of matching festive clothing.
“My mom buys my whole family a new pair of matching Christmas pajamas every year for us to open the night before, and then on Christmas Day we all wake up wearing them,” said Coleman Smart, associate pastor of Music and Worship and Events Director at North Cleveland Church of God.
Food is also an important part of many families’ Christmas celebrations.
“Most of our Christmas traditions center around food; a meal is always involved,” Smart said.
Internationally, traditions can also be seen as a bonding moment.
Although Thanksgiving is not a traditional Bahamian holiday, nursing senior Shelby Sawyer and her family take time to say thanks and have a celebratory dinner just like Americans do. .
“We have Thanksgiving dinner our way,” Sawyer said. “We eat a dish known as ‘vejas y arroz’ and make guava-based desserts for each holiday.”
Whether it’s food or matching pajamas bringing families closer during the holiday season, some traditions start randomly at a holiday and just seem to stick.
Cassidy Rogers, a senior discipleship student at Lee University, said her unique Thanksgiving tradition began in 2015.
“Every year my family watches a movie called free birds and we order pizza and watch the movie while we eat,” Rogers said. “The film is about turkeys going back in time to change the typical tradition of eating turkey on Thanksgiving and swapping it for pizza. So every Thanksgiving, we have pizza!”
Traditions can create memories to last a lifetime.
Teressa Brown, a Cleveland community member, said her family loves to attend outdoor festivals and apple picking at Mercier Orchard in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
“We make apple pies every year with the apples we get from the orchard,” Brown said.
For many at Christmas, one tree is enough, but for Brown, it takes 12 trees to get her in the holiday spirit.
“I have 12 trees to decorate with different themes that I bring up each year, but what I look forward to the most is my travel tree,” Brown said. “I collect ornaments from all over the world as I travel, and these become my travel theme tree.”
Traditions have the potential to bring a family closer together when they come together for annual celebrations each year, and those traditions are passed down over time.
Rogers hopes to carry on his family traditions in the future: “It’s special to his family. We’ve created a bonding experience around something specific that I hope will continue as we grow up and start our own families.”