I was never one for traditions, traveling the world and never being in one place, I would celebrate with people from a far. I did not understand how deep traditions go until today, when they are being ripped from our very beings. Traditions keep families together, sports teams alive, and friends connected.
As I got older, my mom shared that birthdays and Christmas were only for small children, not for me. But I would not let her suck away my excitement or joy. I supported others not just by buying a gift, but by connecting and saying ‘I am thinking about you and you matter’. What my mom was saying is that I didn’t matter. I understand now that people who live life in neutral, not celebrating events or milestones, have brains that are stuck in trauma or frozen in fear.
Remembering every Christmas Eve, I would throw up as a child. As my dad was in charge of Christmas Eve dinner, we would eat at 10 pm. The food was so rich that I would throw up before Christmas morning. I always thought it was because I was so excited for Santa. However, later on in life I realized that I could not digest heavy fats and eating late at night as a child was not optimal. This was a tradition I could do without.
At Christmas, it was always so exciting to see what Santa left under the tree. We would also get a surprise envelope from a distant relative full of money, usually 5 or 10 dollars, until one day it stopped. I didn’t know I was supposed to stay connected with those distant relatives and I learned Santa wasn’t coming anymore.
The stocking stuffers of candy and some small toys, I can still remember today. The belief in Santa was more than the toys and the candy, it was that Santa made me feel like I mattered. This all-knowing and loving being would take the time to leave a present for me, as he was so busy with so many kids around the world, makes every child feel special.
Holidays are deeply rooted in our identity as Christians, and are being stripped away from us, as is Thanksgiving. This is a holiday that this country is built upon. The hard work of the farmers long forgotten as the machines have taken over.
The machine is trying to rip of us our identities to make us all the same, so nothing is special, and we will have nothing to look forward to. This is when I realized how important traditions are to making us who we are and to be grateful and thankful for those who support and celebrate our success and milestones in our lives.
Traditions now more than ever need to be continued. They started because they marked the triumph of our ancestors over extreme obstacles of life and death. The hardships and decisions may not always have been the right decision, but back then people made decisions out of a need for survival. We can’t erase the past, it happened. But we can embrace the positive and keep changing and adapting the future. Being thankful to our ancestors who when traveling to foreign country, found a different country instead and made the best of it.
Don’t change who you are, don’t stop seeing your family, embrace differences and remember that human connections are what makes us a great nation.
Traditions bring us closer together and keep us moving forward.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Live life to the fullest. We need human connections, it’s more important to our survival than isolation.