Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday traditions.
My family had them by the gross when I was a kid. Cutting down our own Christmas tree, listening to “The Partridge Family Christmas” on an endless loop from Thanksgiving to Christmas, pizza and board games on New Year’s Eve — all of the little images that joined forces to make a holiday, and a memory.
I’m 45 now, and lately I’ve been worrying about whether we’re making meaningful holiday memories that our 10-year-old daughter will carry with her. Call it a midlife Christmas crisis, I guess.
And then my wife said something the other night that I’d never thought about before.
“How do you know we’re not making those memories?”
How do I know that, years from now, our daughter isn’t going to look back on all of the things we do every December — my wife’s annual Christmas party, the trips to see the Tilles Park Christmas lights, picking out the perfect tree at the Kirkwood Farmer’s Market — and say, “We had such cool holiday traditions?”
We make an impression without even trying, don’t we?
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change,” Mahatma Gandhi once said. “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”
Everything we do, good and bad, is watched and emulated by someone else — our kids, our families, our co-workers. If we do more good stuff, we’ll see more good stuff.
Corny? Sure. Cliche? Absolutely. Syrupy-sweet? You bet.
True? Without a doubt.
Be nice. Do the right thing. Smile. Put on the Partridge Family while you trim the tree.
Why? Because someone else is watching.