“To many people, holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” – Philip Andrew Adams

My favorite parts of the holiday season are the things I’ve done year after year: a sing-along holiday concert with my mom and her (now blue-haired) friends.  Showing up at my parents’ house on Christmas morning, everyone in pajamas, and preparing each family member their own made-to-order omelette. Coming up with creative “pet names” to write on my wife’s gift tags. The sad-looking, but decades old and well-loved tree topper. Baking cookies from Gram’s recipes. The familiarity of these traditions is as comfortable as my holiday pj’s, and remind me of the continuity of our family’s rituals, our sense of how “we” define and celebrate these yearly milestones. They stir up memories of childhood, when many of these traditions first started, and I feel a bit of the same excitement and joy that I had in those earliest years. When my dad dons the same threadbare Santa hat he wore in my first Christmas portrait, my heart fills with gratitude for the years my family has shared together, and hopefulness for a future that includes the next generation enjoying omelettes and cookies and matching candy cane-striped footie pajamas. Rituals reassure, soothe and connect us. This holiday, immerse yourself in a favorite family tradition, recalling where and how it started, how it’s evolved, and how to keep it vibrant. Or create a new ritual, one you can look forward to sharing with your own grandchildren someday. Trust me – Santa hats look good on everyone.