As we approach the end of the year, I have encouraged my team to take some time to enjoy the holidays and spend quality time with those around them. As leaders, it is important that we recognize the support systems our team members have – their family and friends are vital in their happiness, success, and performance in the workplace.
This is a very special time of year – the season of giving, hope, and being merry. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is tradition. Some of my favorite holiday memories are of my kids when they were little. There really is nothing like experiencing the holidays with young children who relish in the magic of the moment.
Growing up my family had many traditions around the holiday season. Every year we would go to a field and cut down our own Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, we would line up by height before going downstairs for presents. And one of my favorites, that we still try and do today, is to dress up our pugs in the most festive attire – we took a 6-month hiatus from pugs and got this Boston Terrier in the picture, but when it ate the bathroom drywall off we went back to pugs.
As I started my own family, new traditions came along with that. Each year my wife Dana and I bring our families together at one location. Each year, a new location with its own adventure. We celebrate with a big brunch or early dinner, an uplifting Christmas movie and a White Elephant Gift exchange – the best types of gifts and matching festive pajamas.
At this age, some of the magical bewilderment of the holidays is now behind us, but in its place is the wonderful, warm excitement of just having everyone home together for the season.
I’m a big fan of family traditions all year round, but they seem just a little more sentimental at this time of year. From the delicate, time-worn holiday decorations that have been passed down through generations, to the seasonal recipes we still enjoy making together—it’s really cool to think about our great, great grandparents doing these exact same things with the generations before us. I’m sure they had no idea that these would become cherished holiday traditions decades later.
I wonder what, if any, of our current traditions will be cherished by my own great, great grandchildren someday?
Traditions are more than just things we do out of some years-long habit—they are a way to stay connected to our values. As the world becomes more and more commercialized, digitized, and disconnected—we must work a little harder at making sure the values that matter to us are recognized and celebrated all year long.
Whether it’s poppies at Veterans Day, renewing your vows on your wedding anniversary, or doing something special for an annual Employee Appreciation Day— For leaders, role models, and parents, traditions are a way of leaving your mark on the future of your company, your community, and your family for generations to come.
Happy Holidays to you and your families!