The holidays are some of the best times and opportunities we have to continue our family traditions. Many of us can recall how our families celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or birthdays every year. There are some extra special traditions we may remember. Maybe every Christmas we got together with our grandparents or we went out of town to visit friends or family members. Maybe we participated in the local Thanksgiving parade every year or there was a certain dish we especially enjoyed that was prepared specifically for Thanksgiving day.

Traditions can hold very special meaning and memories for us. I remember first learning about their importance to our emotional health and well-being back in my first semester of grad school. Traditions contribute to our overall sense of connectedness, family, continuity, and identity. They give us something that is socially, emotionally, and spiritually meaningful to carry on. As I reflected upon this recently, I thought about my own family traditions. One that came to mind was the New Year's blessing. Every New Year's Eve, as far back as I can recall, my mother would make a traditional Macedonian dish (cora, aka burek). Before baking it, she would hide a wrapped coin inside of it. When our family gathered around to enjoy this delicious dish, we would cut it into pieces like a pie. The big round pan would then be spun 3 times. The piece directly in front of each person would be the one designated to him or her. The remaining pieces would be designated to other important people or work in our lives. We would then enjoy the burek with homemade yogurt and eventually the coin would be found. The fortunate person would then be named as the recipient of the coming year's extra special blessings of abundant prosperity. I always look forward to this fun tradition. We still continue the tradition every year with our children. They also enjoy it and look forward to this tradition. It's especially fun seeing who will get the special blessing.

I am thankful for family traditions and I especially like those that continue on to the next generation. We don't keep all of them, but we do remember the meaning they had and how they enriched our lives. This year we will continue with our New Year's blessing tradition as well as singing and playing Christmas carols, gathering together, and having a wonderful feast of fun and family time!

May you enjoy some of your family traditions this year and remember to give many thanks for them.

Have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!

May your New Year be filled with many blessings, new beginnings, good health, prosperity, peace, true joy and God's unending love!

P.S. Let us remember our military and all those who will not be spending the holidays with their families and keep them in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless them and keep them safe. May He be gracious to them and give them peace.

P.S.S. I absolutely love the classic musical: Fiddler on the Roof. In it, Tevye (Topol), a poor milkman with 5 daughters, talks about tradition. He says, "Without traditions our lives would be shaky as a fiddler on the roof." If you haven't heard the fun song-- Tradition--from the movie, you might want to check it out You Tube.

Tradition does not mean that the living are dead, it means that the dead are living. ~Harold Macmillan

Tradition simply means that we need to end what began well and continue what is worth continuing ~ Jose Bergamin

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes -- our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around. ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Copyright © 2010 Krystal Kuehn, New Day Counseling. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling, children therapy, and teenage counseling center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy!