Getting to the Heart of Traditions

Previously Published in November 2020

Getting to the Heart of Traditions

By Angela Ardrey-Reynolds, 2020 District 84 Vegas Day Bride

We spend years creating traditions. Some traditions are passed down, such as favorite recipes to cook for the holidays. But other traditions, the ones WE create, come from our hearts. It is these traditions that mean the most to us. They are unique, crafted from the beauty of our love for our family and friends.

I have seen college students enjoy a hodgepodge of delights, calling it Friendsgiving. Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, the students brought what they had, moreover what they could afford. The gathering table looked more like a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – random seating, toast and popcorn, and many smiles and laughter. Their love of friendship created their tradition.

I have seen young parents start by following the traditions they brought into the marriage. But as their little ones grew, they discovered rich moments that deserved repeating. Whether a simple drive through a neighborhood to calm a fussy babyor a walk through the mall to enjoy a break with the family, such unexpected occasions led to special traditions. In both situations, the parents stumbled onto priceless moments worth sharing over and over again. They discovered the neighborhood drive in early December was adorned with Christmas lights. And the mall trip? They discovered a new children’s store that became a yearly destination for birthday celebrations. The parents’ love for their new family created their new traditions.

I have seen extended families come together for major holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This is where I discovered the joy of multiple generations gathered in one home. It was a time of abundance—food, laughter, and shared memories. It was also a time to remember the dear ones they lost while celebrating the new lives they gained. Their appreciation for life and each other created their traditions.

I have seen fellow Toastmasters sit across the restaurant table from each other, listening to each other’s cares, and providing support while sharing a meal. It became their tradition, a time of building trust and strengthening relationships. Annually, they would bring unwrapped children’s gifts, first to be used as Table Topic prompts and then to be given to a local charity, blessing children and their families during the holiday season. The members’ love and commitment to the community and for the Toastmasters organization created their traditions.

Oh, by the way, I recently had first-hand experience as an older gentleman and his new spouse (both Toastmasters) began their journey as newlyweds. They have yet to make shared traditions since their new lives have just begun. But I am more than confident that their first holiday season will present beautiful moments worth repeating. I did hear that the gentleman had not decorated a Christmas tree in several years. I believe this will become OUR first tradition together as husband and wife.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, tradition is defined as “a belief, principle, or way of acting that people in a particular society or group have continued to follow for a long time.” I wonder if any dictionary ever included the word LOVE in their definition?

This holiday season, allow your hearts to love – simply love. Who knows, you might stumble onto a moment worthy of becoming a new tradition.

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