Tradition: Good or Bad or . . . .

Birthday traditions are a favorite of mine, and my birthday is inching closer. Saturday is only three days away. I’m considering starting a new tradition this year, provided the weather cooperates. I want to take a group of friends to the Sundial Restaurant and Bar on 72nd floor of the Weston Peachtree Plaza Hotel where the restaurant revolves. We’ll get to see metro-Atlanta in all it lighted Christmas glory. I think it’s a great way to end my day of birthday celebrating. Want to come along?

My birthday doesn’t get lost in the tsunami of our biggest cultural celebration–Christmas–because highlighting December 24th as my birthday is part of my family’s tradition. I get to have a special day to celebrate my life as if it were not mixed in with Christmas. Yet, my birthday is so much fun due to the splendors of the holiday season. The only day that might compare is the Fourth of July where fireworks symbolize freedom.

As Americans celebrating the holiday season, local traditions and family ones overlay the universals. In general, we decorate a tree and give presents. In different parts of the country, local flavor brightens the yuletide, like along the southern coastal states where Santa arrives by boat at the end of a lighted boat parade. As for family traditions, they’re like snowflakes, very individualized.

But, what is a tradition? Are they good? Or possibly harmful? Every year the debate rages about what’s naughty and nice when it comes to holiday traditions.

Yet, traditions blanket our beliefs, our conventions, and dare I say our created mythology? My limited study has shown me how far-reaching customs are in America, and I find it fascinating to catch a glimpse of our cultural traditions through the eyes of others from cultures different from ours. For example, when I was in college, a Japanese student came to me just before a holiday party and asked me, with utter sincerity, why Santa Claus wasn’t in the Bible. I sat with him for several hours and talked it out. I learned that my knowledge of “why” was inadequate for me, though he nodded his head and appeared to come away from our conversation somehow enlightened.

Another example: While working in corporate America, I attended a company finance seminar in October just before our November elections. The man sitting next me, a Canadian who worked in our company’s Canadian office, commented that our political campaigning process was different from theirs. In Canada, he explained, debates are heated; however, television and radio advertising is polite, in contrast to America where our debates are very polite, but television and radio are mud-slinging events.

I’m going to looking at the ‘why’ of traditions throughout 2012. I think it will be an interesting and enlightening journey. What do you think?

What is your definition for tradition? What traditions do you keep and which ones do you want to create to have a richer fuller life?

Happy Birthday to me and Happy Holidays to all!

(Photo was taken from:


About Linda Joyce

Writing is a curious journey. You don't pick it, it picks you. See my website at to learn more about me.
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8 Responses to Tradition: Good or Bad or . . . .

  1. Mary Coley says:

    Yeah! Happy Birthday, Linda! What a special time. Hope you have a great celebration.

  2. Happy Birthday to you! My sister’s birthday is the 26th and it was always overshadowed by Christmas. But yours sounds like you took care of that and you really DO celebrate it with enthusiasm. We all have traditions. I believe it’s a way of continuing the cohesion we all want in our families. Without it I’m not sure some of us would see our relatives very often. It’s a reason to come together though you shouldn’t need a reason. It should just happen, but it doesn’t. Not here in the States, that is. I’m finding it difficult to keep my family together and on the path of traditions because everyone is so busy doing their own thing which fractures our family to no end. And I hate that. Our family has diminished due to deaths and moves and it’s a difficult thing to do – keeping people together and communicating.

    • Linda Joyce says:


      Thank you for your heartfelt words about tradition and Happy Birthday to your sister. And…if family is unable to be together at the holidays, having open lines of communication are crucial.
      Happy Holidays,
      Linda Joyce

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    Happy birthday and Merry Christmas, and what a thoughtful, fun-to-read blog.

  4. What a great idea to go to the Sundial for your birthday! You have inspired me to begin considering making my own birthday memorable; why not throw a party for myself! I am too lazy to clean up the confetti, but I sure could go for sharing copious amounts of wine 🙂 My birthday is coming soon — January 10. Happy, happy birthday to you, Linda! I definitely want to get together after the new year!

    • Linda Joyce says:


      I truly believe that it is important to celebrate our lives. Each year is a milestone. And, for every down, or pause, or pain, there are so many good, joyful, and uplifting moments to remember. I got out my photo album from all of my childhood birthdays, up to about age 13, and what a hoot! I noticed that I often had a shy smile for the camera- No More! I make sure I grin from ear to ear.
      Happy Birthday to you!

      Linda Joyce

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