Holiday Traditions Keep the Spirit Alive

by Sierra Guardiola

There’s something special for me about setting up our tree every year. My mom bakes chocolate chip cookies, my dad pulls out the video camera to interview us and narrate what we’ve been up to this past year, and we all work together as we hang each ornament up on the tree. We have holiday music playing in the background and the pellet stove glowing with light from the corner of the room. It’s a picturesque winter holiday moment that my parents have made a tradition in our family year after year.

As we set up our Frasier fir this year, I found myself appreciating my parents’ effort to keep the holiday season special by making a special day out of tree decorating. So often the joy of the holiday season can be muffled by the pressures to find great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list before the 25th rolls around. While it is special to give and receive presents to the people you care about, this tree tradition has always meant more to me than any present I receive. There were years when I definitely appreciated it less than I do know (yes, I’m taking about those angsty teenage years) but it has always been a cue that the holiday season was beginning. Decorating the tree has always been a joyous moment not because of physical things but because of being together reliving a moment that so many fond memories are tied to.

Keeping these rituals alive helps us keep the Christmas spirit alive in our home. With no more little ones left in our household, moments like these are needed to make us experience that feeling of holiday magic. Finding activities in the area during the holiday season, whether it be trekking to a local tree farm to pick out your own, attending a holiday concert, or watching a parade of lights, keeps the spirit alive in your own family as well as in the community.

Sierra is a senior journalism major at Ithaca College. She is currently a freelancer for Hudson Valley Magazine and can also be seen in Real Simple. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching Parks and Rec or exploring the many hikes in the Ithaca region.

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