December 18, 2009

Christmas Traditions Today and Yesteryear

Ahh....traditions.

Whether establishing one for the first time or continuing one that's generations old, they have a way of weaving themselves into your heart and lives and creating a feeling of warmth when you share them with others.

These days, Christmas has become so commercialized, the real meaning and spirit of the holiday seems to have disappeared. Over 100 years ago, the time spent with family, the simple pleasures, and the lack of selfishness was far more common. Sure, the aim for personal gain still existed. It's been around since the dawn of time. But on the whole, folks were far more interested in helping others than in helping themselves.

It's one of the reasons why I love to write historical fiction. I get to delve into the days gone by and explore the richness of character, family closeness and overall good will for your fellow man. It's refreshing to pen a heartwarming scene between characters who have nothing but each other and a wood stove or a fireplace...yet they still smile and find a reason to share in the joy of the season. All right, so they might have a few peppermint sticks too. :)

But when I write a Christmas scene in one of my books, my favorite thing to find out is what traditions my characters have and how they got started. Depending upon the setting of my story, these traditions can be as different as night and say. Before Christmas became so standardized across this country, various regions celebrated in far different ways.

One thing remained constant, though. The realization that it's a far greater blessing to give than to receive. And that knowledge was lovingly shared with children as soon as they could grasp the concept. There's a certain inner satisfaction when children can be involved in the entire process and contribute in their own way.

One of the best aspects of this Christmas season is having the opportunity to revisit all the wonder and joy of Christmas through the eyes of my daughter. Seeing a child discover everything for the first time brings all the excitement back once more and even introduces a whole new perspective on certain aspects.

Traditions are explored on a whole different level, the hum-drum becomes woo-hoo as even the most mundane tasks are given a new dimension. This is only the beginning. There are many more years of enjoying a new lease on life as we celebrate the seasons with our daughter, making new traditions and continuing a few old ones.

So, this Christmas, take the challenge to see even just one tradition or aspect of the season through new eyes. You might just be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

Now, what are some traditions that you and your family have? If you know how they got started, share that as well. Looking forward to reading your replies.



Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing specialist and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author in Colorado. They have 1 daughter and a border collie. She has sold eight books so far to Barbour Publishing, is a columnist for the ACFW e-zine and writes other articles as well. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.

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