How do Christmas traditions change over time?

One of the best things about Christmas is spending quality time with family and finally getting to carry out the traditions that were longed for throughout the year. Some traditions such as language, food, or culture are participated in all year long. However, some traditions are only practiced once a year. These traditions can be said to create a stronger desire for them to arrive early, and create memories that are cherished for many years. Let’s take a look at what typical Christmas traditions can look like throughout the years. 


What are traditions?

Before we jump into our main topic, let’s take a closer look at what a tradition is and the values it can hold. A tradition can be as simple as making a specific recipe or telling encapturing stories, or it can be as complex as practicing a certain religion. 


 I asked a few students here at iUP what traditions mean to them. Let’s take a look at their thoughts. 


When Chloe Pittard, a 10th-grade student, was asked about what traditions mean to her, she said “To me, traditions mean honoring our loved ones even when we’re not with them. Whether they’ve passed or just not physically with us, traditions allow what was important to them to become important to us.” Overall, “ It’s about what the heart experiences through it all, not just the physical acts.” 


Another 10th-grade student, Brooke Bolinger, responded by saying “To me, traditions mean spending time with family and doing something we love together.” and that “ It is a time of happiness and joy and is something I look forward to doing every year.”


Now, let’s hear from one of the EICs of iHoot, Eve Bamber. She says that “To me, traditions mean family. The traditions that I know of and take part in all have one thing in common, Family significance. Whether this involves seeing those for the first time in a while, spending quality time, or celebrating others, traditions always will mean family significance!”


Everyone has a unique outlook of what traditions are and their importance, but that is what is so great about them!


Holiday Traditions from the past:


As families grow and expand, it can be understood that some traditions are lost along the way. Whether they are lost as kids grow out of them, or people who hold the traditions pass on, they still hold fond memories.  


One student that is familiar with traditions becoming memories of the past is Chloe. In her experience, she says that “When my grandparents (Grammy and Gee) were alive, our whole family would gather at their house and in the living room Grammy would read a book called Albi Angel to all of us.” She goes on to say, “Since they’ve passed, we haven’t done that, except for once when I read it. We still have the book and every time I see it I am reminded of my loving grandparents.”


Understandably, Eve is also familiar with traditions fading. “Obviously because my family moved halfway across the world from Australia to Texas, many of our Christmas traditions had to change. In Australia, we would go visit our grandparents, but that is unfortunately not possible most of the time.”


While these traditions may have abruptly come to an end or slowly fade out, the memories that were created with them are invaluable. Some Christmas traditions from the past hold such strong significance that they will inevitably make a comeback.


Present Christmas Traditions:


Christmas is the time of year when the air is chilly and there are countless opportunities to spend time with family and friends. For many, the one thing that is most exciting about filling their days with family during Christmas is finally getting to carry out the traditions that were wished for since last Christmas. 


Common Christmas customs include baking cookies for Santa, watching the best Christmas movies, or sitting around a warm fire reading stories. Our iUP students shared their unique Christmas traditions. 


Brooke says “I typically spend Christmas at home and sometimes go to my family’s ranch a few days before to see my grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc. At home, we always make what we call blueberry muffins but are actually scones that we set out Christmas Eve.” In addition to these amazing traditions, she continues to add “Also, on Christmas Eve we go to the amazing Christmas service at our church, and that night we have tamales before going to bed. My mom and I make a delicious Christmas meal with our own stuffing, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole recipes.” Brooke gets to experience getting her picture taken with Santa each year too! “My parents and I also go to Gruene, Texas to get our picture taken with Cowboy Kringle (a cowboy Santa) for our Christmas card that we send out.”


Another set of amazing Christmas traditions belong to Chloe. She says “For Christmas, I usually go to my grandparent’s house and all our family gathers together. We have a big lunch with all types of food, open gifts together one at a time, and make memories! We usually also go to Lake City Colorado and have fun in the snow for a week or so!


Eve has a unique Christmas as most of her family lives in Australia. In her words, “Though most of my family lives in Australia, we’re lucky enough that my Uncle and Aunt live in New York! Each Christmas, they’ll either come to Texas or we’ll go to New York so we can spend Christmas together! Also, we’ll do a Christmas party with our closest family friends and play white elephant!”


A Look into the Future: 


All traditions have different fates in the upcoming years. Some traditions might be gained, lost, or carried on. However, the people who hold these traditions play a large role in determining this. 


Chloe is familiar with wanting to bring back old traditions in the upcoming years. She says “As the grandkids get older, I’m the youngest out of 4, it will be harder to find time to all get-together. I hope that as I start my own family, whether it is the big family all together or just me, my kids, and spouse, I would like to bring back the Albi Angel tradition because I was very close with Grammy so it will show she is still in my heart.” As for traditions that she would like to carry on, “The traditions we have of decorating early, setting out a special plate for Santa, gathering together for lunch, looking at Christmas lights, and Christmas Eve church service are ones I hope we will always have.”


In addition, Brooke says “In the future, we will probably continue to carry out our regular traditions since we have done them my whole life and possibly make new ones. For example, our tradition of going to see Cowboy Kringle started when I was about 8 or 9 and is not something we have always done. I am sure we will continue to make new memories with new activities and festivities as the years pass.


Eve states “I love visiting New York for Christmas, and will definitely keep that tradition up as much as I can! Eventually, I would love to create my own with other friends and family down the road!”




Now that you have heard from these amazing students, it is clear that Christmas traditions look and mean different things to people. Due to this, we each have a unique set of holiday traditions that we can proudly call our own. Whether new traditions are started, old ones are lost, or the same classic ones are carried on, one thing is for certain, our Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them.