Celebrate Broken Traditions


There’s comfort in a long-standing tradition. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to spend Christmas Eve with my grandparents at their beautiful older home in downtown Detroit. My mom’s brothers and their families would attend, and it would be wall-to-wall chaos. There were three rooms on the main level. It was a traditional setup with a larger foyer flowing into a standard living room with a dining room and kitchen attached. There were at least 18 people crowded in and sometimes the noise was deafening: Young kids waiting for presents and adults trying to watch sports, play cards or just converse.

It was the kind of chaos that brings people together. Over the years, each of the cousins got married and had kids of their own and, well, things changed. It had to happen. For a while, we tried to get as many people together as we could. But there were too many and the space didn’t allow for it.

I was disappointed when I finally realized that we were never going to have a holiday like it was before. As it usually goes, a new tradition takes the place of those from the past, and it can be good – really good. You have children of your own and spend a great deal of time trying to replicate the Christmas magic you experienced in your youth. Those days were simple. Simply perfect.

As the years have gone on, I’ve found it harder and harder to replicate “tradition” in the way that I used to know it. When you feel something slipping away, as humans we try to hang on tighter to the smallest sliver of what we had. We try to build up the memory and give our children a glimpse of a time when it just felt right. We hold on so tight that when things don’t go the way we think they should, it’s disappointing.

This year, we’re breaking tradition again. I don’t feel nearly as saddened by the idea. Actually, I’m excited that we have the opportunity to experience something new. Maybe like everything else in this fast-paced society where we can only stay focused on 120 characters or less, we are living the new definition of tradition. Instead of tradition lasting 20 years or more, we are lucky to see similar activities over two years. My holiday wish for you is to enjoy each moment as it comes and don’t fret over the dropped pie, broken toy or silly arguments. It’s all part of your new holiday tradition.

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.

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