How many traditions have been lost or faded into antiquity with our new digital age?
December is here and the Christmas rush has begun. Christmas lights will be draped and the lots are selling Douglas firs to traditionalists. There’s shopping to be done, if you didn’t join the melee of Black Friday sales. Yes, it’s Christmas time and holiday traditions are beginning to appear. But how many traditions have been lost or faded into antiquity with our new digital age?
There was a time not so long ago that we would send scores of Christmas cards to family and friends. Now we mail a dozen or so to those who bless us with postmarked cards. It could be postage or more likely convenience but, in this era, we send our holiday greetings through social media. I still get a thoughtful Christmas letter on occasion, from a talented writer sharing a year’s worth of accomplishments and tribulations. To put pen to paper and share these thoughts means more than the author knows.
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Returning to lights and trees, there are two more traditions that are slipping into obscurity. During the weeks leading up to Christmas it’s difficult to find a street that’s not adorned with decorative lighting. Some look like the Griswold’s home from "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation" while most are more subtle in their décor. It’s refreshing that so many still spruce up their homes. But what’s missing are the evenings spent walking the streets or driving to other neighborhoods with cups of hot cocoa to see how others have adorned their homes.
The traditional Christmas tree is also a vanishing practice. How many afternoons have been spent looking for the perfect tree? Is there anyone who hasn’t found that the "perfect" tree always leans a bit or is flat on one side? So, it’s easier to pick up an artificial tree; now they’re even pre-lit. You don’t even have to decorate – just pull it out of the box and plug it in.
Baking cookies is a lost art. If you order through Amazon you don’t have to wrap the gifts, and when’s the last time you sat down and watched George Bailey find out that "It’s a Wonderful Life"? Kids don’t write letters to Santa anymore; they text him their wish list (I wonder if there’s an app for that.)
There are so many traditions that we need to bring back to make this season less commercial and a bit more magical.
So this year, slow down a bit. Put together a Christmas playlist and have yourself a merry little Christmas.