Despite my Southern upbringing, I have a love-hate relationship with tradition as a concept. The sentimental aspect of embracing and honoring our past is not the issue. But doing something a particular way because “that’s the way Momma did it” is not always enough to justify the action or the inherent pressure involved.
Holidays bring nostalgia for family traditions, but, friends, beware you don’t let your reminiscences cloud your enjoyment of the present.
Have you considered that maybe Momma grated her own coconut for her cake because she didn’t have a grocery store around the corner selling freshly grated coconut year-round?
I support a theory of evolution regarding traditions. Either they evolve or they wither. A tradition adopted begrudgingly is sure to be forgotten quickly. Holidays bring nostalgia for family traditions, but, friends, beware you don’t let your reminiscences cloud your enjoyment of the present. With Thanksgiving around the corner, a reader posed this question, one many wrestle with as the time comes to blend desires and traditions.
Dear Ms. Wright: I have been married for three blissful years, but every year as Thanksgiving approaches, I get a knot in my stomach when it is time to discuss our holiday travel plans. Both my parents and in-laws live out of state. Figuring out who gets to enjoy our company each year is taking the merry out of my merrymaking. Any suggestions?
Cheer up, buttercup. Holidays are meant to be a time of joy. A few clarifying conversations with that hubby of yours at the outset will keep your marriage and holidays happy.
As you’re weighing the pros and cons of your travel plans, remember you are in this together. When you are traveling over the river and through the woods during the holidays, your relationship with one another should be riding in the front seat, not rolling around in the way back.
A willingness to compromise and be flexible on both your parts will serve you well. A two-hour visit with Aunt Ida may be a small price to pay to keep harmony at home for the rest of a long holiday weekend.
Fairness is a factor, but is only one aspect to be considered. If one of you has an aging grandparent you need to spend time with, make sure you commit to one another to spend time visiting, even if not during the holidays.
Once you have agreed, present a unified front to both sets of parents, delivering your decision without apology. Someone will be disappointed, but be grateful you both have families that want to spend time with you. Enjoy the holidays and love the ones you are with.
Until next time, y’all behave.
Send Ms. Wright your questions regarding relationships, personal concerns, and etiquette at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inclusion is anonymous and based on editorial discretion.