“There has never been as much information available as there is today online.” We hear this statement all the time. Though this may be true, it can still be hard to step out of our own “bubble”.
We are firmly in December, and the holiday season is upon us. It’s valuable to use the endless information available to us to inform our decisions and habits, and remind ourselves that there is more than one way to celebrate the festive season. You may even find a new tradition to incorporate into your celebrations.
Traditions vary greatly around the world from country to country, culture to culture, family to family, even home to home. Though we may be celebrating differently, most of the time we are keeping the same ideals and values at the core of our festivities.
Common threads among many different holiday traditions include: creating a sense of community, celebrating love, and dedicating ourselves to that which is most important to us.
Creating A Sense of Community
It is often encouraged to build a sense of community, and show thanks to the people who have been a part of your community. This can be witnessed in Zambia where it is customary for all the adults to gather in one house and all of the children to gather in another house. The idea being that we are always stronger together than we are apart.
Also, some people in Russia share “kutia” (a kind of pudding) from a single bowl to represent unity.
In Colombia family, friends, and neighbours all gather to pray together for several nights in a row taking turns at each others’ homes.
Throughout many holiday celebrations we see members of a family or community gathering together to share in meals. The holiday season is a wonderful time for togetherness.
No, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day. Especially around the holidays, we, as humans, show our love in many ways:
- Spreading joy
- Small acts of kindness for others
- Sharing meals
- Gift giving
- Spending time together
It’s common during the holiday season to give through charity: volunteering time, donating food, raising money for those in need, or giving to causes that inspire us in some way. Generosity is certainly one way we can all show we care.
One of the main aspects of Kwanzaa is to support your local community, leaving it more prosperous than you found it, no matter how small the gesture. In China, it is customary to gift apples (there is a rough translation of the Chinese word for apple to the English word for peace). I might be biased, but what better way is there to wish someone well than to give them an apple a day to keep the doctor away? Of course, many Christmas traditions revolve around meaningful gift giving as well.
Overall, the festive season presents us a great opportunity to be the best version of ourselves and act in a fashion that uplifts those around us.
Dedicating Ourselves To What We Value Most
For many people, rededicating themselves to their faith is especially significant at this time of year. In fact, it’s one of the guiding principles of Hanukkah.
For others, it means working less and instead prioritizing time with family, or being more mindful of caring for our health.
Or, maybe peace is something we value. In this case, dedicating ourselves to what is important to us might look like taking more time for self-care. In fact, we shared a post last year on “How To Keep the ‘Happy’ In Your Holidays“.
With the world feeling so small on the internet, it is important to remember it is still a vast and intricate place. So, even though we may live in the same community, we may celebrate a little differently and that is okay — it’s beautiful.
Whether we’re prioritizing what we value most, celebrating love, creating a sense of community, or all of the above and more — to have the opportunity to share in the holiday season with someone is undoubtedly special.
We’d love the chance to help you celebrate the holidays this year. Join us on Saturday, December 9th for a FREE Staying Healthy Through the Holidays presentation. We’ll discuss the dangers of excess sugar, offer recipes for some healthy(er) holiday treats, and share what mindful gift giving means to us! You can RSVP here.
How are you celebrating this holiday season? What traditions are most meaningful to you?