Nearing the end of a very long twelve months, we look back at why ritual should be revered as the binding thread in the fabric of family and friendship.
The concept of tradition can seem confusing upon reflection. What does our birth date have to do with cake and candles? Why do we dress as vampires and ghouls on Halloween? Does Santa really enjoy those mince pies we leave out every year?
But as strange as tradition may seem to outsiders, we humans have used it to connect since the dawn of our species. Even in the most secular of societies, ceremonies and rituals allow people to communicate and bond over a shared idea, in a shared moment. Tradition means one thing in all of its forms – from coronating royalty to doing the haka before a rugby game, from India’s colourful Holi festival to raising a glass and toasting a loved one – tradition means togetherness.
So, during a time in our lives when connection has truly never felt more important, what better way to feel close to friends and family, far and wide, than by forging new lines of communication and harnessing the almighty power of tradition? The human species is so remarkable because of its ability to adapt, to find solutions in times of hardship and work cohesively, as one.
If your usual Boxing Day buffet at your Aunt’s house is cancelled this year, or your annual appreciation of time off with family is simply feeling a little skewed – whether or not you celebrate the holidays in any religious sense – perhaps we can all find a little solace in creating a new set of traditions, ones that remind us to appreciate all that we have, rather than focus on all that is missing.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas but have still found comfort in instigating new traditions throughout these lockdowns. Not being able to see my sisters meant we started gifting each other more frequently, from vegan cookies and doughnuts to general deliveries and things to spruce up our homes. It’s become the norm to send little tokens of love every so often and let each other know that we care and we’re here. Even Covid can’t take that joy from us.” – Farrah Gray, Brand and PR Manager
“During lockdown I tried to stay in contact with as many of my friends and family as possible. I found myself replying to letters from my elderly grandparents, which I hadn’t done in years. I’ve really learned the importance of ensuring your loved ones know you’re there and always thinking of them.” – Mark Hetherington, Digital Marketing Manager
“Dressing the table and making it look as nice as my mum’s table normally does is a tradition I’m definitely planning on honouring this year. My kitchen table is also my desk, so it’s felt really nice on the few occasions in 2020 when I’ve properly cleared it and jazzed it up a little bit.” – Elizabeth Kennedy, Content Manager
“So many of us write ourselves off as art and craft heathens who wouldn’t be much good at making something from scratch. Often the times I feel closest to my friends and family (besides the times when they’re physically with me, of course) are when I’m devoting time and effort to creating something that I know will put a smile on their face. It doesn’t have to be a Da Vinci ceiling or a Joe Lycett papier-mâché head (look it up, you won’t regret it), but simply cutting up an old newspaper and using it to write a funny message on a card shows that you’ve spent some time thinking about someone you love. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that those little gestures of love go a long way.” – Florence Reeves-White, Brand Content Writer
“Like many, after a family-fuelled Christmas I usually usher in the new year with friends! This year, when we would usually get together, I’m hoping to keep the tradition alive by hosting a virtual cocktail making class with my friends (we often like to invent our own), that way we get to spend NYE together and drink a few of our signature cocktail mixes to boot! Who knows, perhaps these virtual sessions will take off long after Covid, it certainly saves on New Years ticket prices!” – Victoria Nufer, Ambassador Content Writer
“I’ve played a lot of video games with friends and family every week, it’s a good way of doing something together during which you’re simply focusing on the game. We can feel a sense of unison without the dreaded small talk about the government and the virus that nobody wants to hear much more about right now.” – Connor Bolton, Brand and Social Responsibility Manager
“If you’re missing out on your favourite festive foods – perhaps your Grandma’s roast potatoes, or your Mum’s Christmas pudding – then give it a go yourself! Ask for the traditional family recipe they use and attempt to recreate that favourite dish so you can feel close to them. Share a photo with them to let them know how you got on – depending on how successful you are, it may just be a chance for a good laugh. And if it goes well, you now know how to make it so you can help them out next year!” – Nicole Campanaro, Head of Marketing
“Breakfast in bed! It’s not something I can normally do, because we usually have loads of people coming over and there’s too much to prepare, so this year I’m 100 percent having a festive breakfast in bed and maybe even a lie in!” – Abi Chastney, Social Media Assistant
“For me, tradition is centred around music. My mum always has Radio 2 on in the mornings, so my sister and I have said we will do the same this year, so we’re all listening to the same song at the same time.” – Danielle Guy, Recognition Scribe
“When my Grandparents were having a down period, I sent them some CDs. My most vivid memory of them is their joyous dancing around the kitchen. They’re still scared to go out for long walks, so this keeps them moving and having a good time as well! I also made some playlists for friends and family of songs that remind us all of special times.” – Daniella Faccenda, Website Content Coordinator