JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF-KODE) — Christmas is just right around the corner, and that often means falling into routine get-togethers with family and friends. The definition of tradition is “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation or the fact of being passed on this way.” Traditions provide a connection for families or friends. While there are cherished traditions that everyone looks forward to, there are also traditions that have started falling by the wayside.
There are many reasons traditions end. It can be something definitive (a death, divorce, a move) or something less concrete. Or a tradition may run its course and not work over rtime as lives change or people get older. Sometimes a tradition ends because the joy it once brought has faded.
Some of the most beloved past times have become things of the past as modern practices take their place. Here are some holiday traditions that become less important with each passing year. Unfortunately, most of these forgotten traditions revolve around spending more quality time with your family.
Waiting to decorate
Holiday décor began arriving in stores long before we reached the peak of fall. Waiting to decorate for the December holidays until the actual month of December arrives seems a thing of the past. And it seems any warm day from Halloween onward will find homeowners stringing lights and setting up elaborate displays. When making a trip into town, you’ll likely find that many big box stores begin decorating for Christmas before we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Using fine China and dressing for dinner
A big family gathering served on paper plates? Welcome to holiday gatherings in the 21st century. Pulling out the finest china, using treasured silver, and creating a table that shows how much you care are all holiday traditions that are falling away. Along those same lines, you may be serving guests who arrive in jeans and sweatshirts. It’s a rare family that insists on (and enjoys) putting on a suit and tie or dress for the family’s most celebrated meals of the year.
It’s rare to see anyone caroling through the neighborhood anymore. Most holiday singing happens in church, at community tree-lightings, at malls, or in schools. No more knocking or singing.
Hand-strung popcorn garlands
A needle, some thread, freshly popped popcorn, and some fresh cranberries are all the makings of a fun family tradition. Today, hand-strung popcorn garland is a rarity; perhaps as rare as a home that has a needle and thread.
Sharing greetings by snail mail. Many no longer keep up the tradition and opt for e-greetings. Also, it’s more unlikely to find those who write their own cards out by hand. However, it’s been reported that millennials like to send cards and could be supporting a revival of this tradition.
Real Christmas trees
The American Christmas Tree Association reports that while 77% of U.S. households will celebrate this holiday season with a Christmas tree, a staggering 82% of those displayed will be artificial trees. There’s just something about the smell of fresh pine that brings some Holiday cheer, despite the fact that we will again be vacuuming up pine needles for months.
Long gone are the days outdoor holiday décor was simple when just a few people would outline their entryway or roofline with a strand of big outdoor bulbs or just a front-door wreath. Today, it’s all about hundreds of twinkling fairy lights, icicle lights, blow-up figures, and competitions.
The grab bag
Remember your elementary school days? You had to get a present at a particular price. The entire class put their gifts in one big bag, and when your turn came, you felt around for something that felt good. Maybe some years you got a doll, while others you got McDonald’s gift certificates. Today, it seems like it’s all about “Secret Santa” and shopping for someone you know.
CNBC reported that online shopping was outpacing brick-and-mortar shopping — and for many who are short on time (and patience), shopping for the holidays online is a welcome option. But don’t you miss having to grab something warm to drink while you walk through the nearest mall or make your way up and down Main Street gathering one gift after another?
Can you remember the arrival of the “Sears Wish Book?” It was a mega-catalog that fueled many childhood daydreams (and likely a letter to Santa). Sometimes, the catalog’s delivery would bring about a fight with your brothers and sisters over who got to pore over its countless pages first. Today, while many companies still send out catalogs, they are often samplings with notations throughout to find more online.
Giving gifts, period
People magazine shared a story about people opting to skip gifts altogether and instead spend time with family over a holiday meal. Especially now, as inflation causes the price of nearly everything to rise, buying gifts are not as important as it once was.
Holiday train sets
A tree with winding train tracks underneath or a room or basement filled with a whole holiday train village was the tradition in many households. Today, it’s a rarity and is mainly found only in with very elaborate commercial decorating.
Gifts made by hand
“I made it myself” is rarely heard during the holiday season anymore. For many, long gone are the days when your holiday gift list included knitting a scarf for your mom, sewing a shirt for your dad, or crafting a necklace for your sister. You’ll find that most millennials have never sewn in their life.
After the holidays, extending the warm feelings with heartfelt thank-you notes puts a very nice finishing touch on the season as a whole. Today, we’re lucky if we get a text.
To find more classic Christmas traditions from the past, click here.