The holidays are bursting with nostalgia — if you look for it. Embrace it this year. In a consumer society driven by planned obsolescence and getting that “great new thing,” the joy of tradition can be lost. Here are some old ideas to consider anew …
Join together in a family event with neighbors.
Covid did bring us all very close to our families for necessity’s sake, both good and bad. We still need to be vigilant with our vaccinations. But this holiday season join with other families and get out of the cloister of your house. While keeping the physical mask on (if necessary), take the social mask off and go visit. Be intentional about taking your family out into the community to join other families at our local restaurants and shops. This is a cultural ritual from my Swedish roots and the Julbord.
Bring the joy of singing by caroling in the neighborhood, a Victorian tradition.
Get away from Tik Tok performances in your living room for the online mob and gather with neighbors and friends bringing holiday music to the streets and sidewalks. What is beautiful is that you don’t need to be Mariah Carey to participate. When carolers come to your door, welcome them by joining in!
Decorate with vintage, handcrafted, and repurposed décor.
Rather than shopping for kitschy, mass-produced stuff at the big box store, visit a small shop to find the beautiful vintage, one-of-a-kind piece or heirloom. Shop at a local craft fair for that artisan gift that has the careful touch of the one who created it. Look for that “perfect” set of Mamie Eisenhower pink 1950s tree bulbs.
Attend a community holiday party.
Community celebrations are important in sustaining an active civil society. Joining in planned group holiday parties is a great way to enjoy each other. The tree-lighting events, firetruck parades, and an Old Tyme Country Christmas Party.
Mail a holiday card.
It is faster and simpler to send online greetings, so do that as well. But taking the time to find someone’s address you know and then sending a vintage or handmade card conveys a loving, handwritten touch. This is an especially caring thing to do for the elderly and shut-ins who can treasure that hand-crafted mini-gift for weeks. Grandmas and Grandpas far away love their cards from the little ones.
Take a winter stroll.
Homes will be glistening with lights and yard decorations. Some of us like to be intense with emblazoning our whole house; others are more serene with a solitary string on the porch or bush. Either way, they all have beauty. Snuggle in your woolies, cuddle your loved ones, leash your dog, and go for a fresh walk in the winter air. Finish it off with a hot chocolate or apple cider at your favorite local establishment or at home by the fire.
Visit a house of worship.
Whether you are a congregation member, part-time adherent, or a one-time visitor, join in one of the holiday services to participate and hear the story of your faith, sing special music, hear a bell-ringer ensemble, light candles, and be encouraged by a holiday homily.
I encourage you to make some traditional activities part of your plans this holiday season.