Looking back on my family’s southern holiday traditions, I’m filled with a nostalgic blend of happiness and hazy remembrance. I can’t always remember every detail, but the impression of holiday traditions glide past, all accompanied by neighborhood lights, fragrant evergreen needles, and a kitchen filled with treats. While some holiday traditions remain the same year after year, it’s never too late to start a new tradition with family and friends. While not all members of our LGBT+ community may have fond memories of the holidays, I want to share a few of my traditions which you may choose to adopt and help make new memories of the holiday season.
During the holiday, the delicious aroma of baked cookies fills my home. With all of the recipes that exist, baking cookies for friends and family is something that is easy to enjoy. My family used to store them in decorative tins — as tasty gifts to send home with guests and holiday visitors. But cookies are not the only fun treat to have during the holidays. I love on a cold evening to have a hot cocoa and S’mores night! One of the best holiday parties I ever attended served hot chocolate (with the appropriate adult mix-ins) and a full assortment of items to be used for making S’mores! When I think back on this event, it reminds me of how a rather simple arrangement made a lasting memory. Just goes to show that making memories doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal.
But, the holidays are not all about parties. Another thing I like to do during the holiday season is to volunteer. In past years, I have taken the opportunity to volunteer at the community food bank, or sought other opportunities to give back with a group of friends. With busy schedules, this doesn’t always happen, so some years I have simply donated items to those in need. Donating items at this time of year has long been a tradition for my family. I remember my mother telling us that we needed to donate our old toys as a way to make way for the new presents Santa was going to bring. Not only were her tactics helping her keep a clean home, but she was also laying the foundation for her family to be more focused on giving to others.
The last tradition I would like to share is going to see the holiday lights. It’s a rather simple tradition and goes as follows — Step one: Bundle up and pile in the car. Step two: Drive around town to look at the houses covered in holiday lights. Step three: Ooh and aah. Not very complicated, but it gives you the experience to share with loved ones. And isn’t that what the holidays are about?
No matter what you decide to do this holiday season, take the time to make new memories and start a few new traditions that you’ll look forward to year after year. I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season — I look forward to speaking to you in the new year!