I’m getting older.  While that is not the point of this post, it helps to explain the softening within and the certain appreciation for new and different things in life.  Now I forgot what the point of this was…

Traditions.  I want to talk about traditions.  What are they, and why do we have them?

When someone mentions family traditions, the first thought I have is about Thanksgiving.  It has been and will always be the most meaningful holiday to me, much more so than Christmas.  This began to gel years ago and really molded itself the past 10-years or so, through various events, and truly life changing moments.  On the surface, it is a simple holiday, with the goal of giving thanks, not only for the food adorning the oak dining room table, but for those seated around the table.  People will make the long drive or fly from out of state to spend time with family and catch up on the years that have passed.

Within the depths of Thanksgiving, are more subtle reasons this holiday is held so dear.  It feels genuine.  It feels natural, not forced.  It has the same spirit from hundreds of years earlier.  Of course, there are smaller traditions within the holiday festivities, and this where I am hooked.  Each year, I make the same side-dish that my grandfather made – cream corn casserole.   Minnesotan to its core, not good for you, and tastes more excellent the next day.  No holiday is complete without it, and it is my mission to continue this tradition.

How and why do traditions develop?

The first two or three times something is done the same way, at roughly the same time, an event or action may not be very noticeable.  Gradually those involved remark that it has become tradition to do something.  And these traditions can be grandiose, small, or just plain goofy, such as Gumby tagging along on road-trips.

Once you you start to look forward to the event, the tradition is set.  We take road trips north most weekends, and it has become a tradition to stop at McDonalds early in the morning for breakfast, and our first coffee.  It is something familiar that can provide a path through the fog and a great way to start the day.

As I have aged, I have learned to embrace the traditions that involve family and the people that matter the most around me.  It became important to me to carry on traditions started by my grandfather, and in my mind, passed on to me.  I hope he is looking down with a smile every time I make the casserole.


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