Christmas Tea and Other Holiday Traditions

by | Dec 23, 2023

As you can see, I wore another one of my grandmother’s hats to our annual Christmas Tea for the women at my church this year. I’m not an expert but I think my black 100% wool felt hat was a version of a fedora. It also had scarf-like material stitched into the inner rim so I could cover my ears and tie it under my chin on a windy day. Can you tell I cheated and tucked that scarf fabric inside the hat since it was a non-windy, day?

Enjoying Christmas Tea

I always have such a lovely time visiting, nibbling, absorbing the beauty of the decorations, listening to the holiday music, and soaking in the message of the speaker. I see my sister, living states away, also attended a Christmas Tea recently. It seems they have become quite common. Out of curiosity, I looked up the history of Christmas Tea and learned a few interesting facts:

  • The temperance movement back in the 1800s influenced a shift in Christmas traditions from alcohol-centric to family-friendly gatherings.
  • The rise of afternoon tea then became more of a social custom.
  • Wassail became a holiday and special occasion tradition as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.
  • Christmas celebrations evolved more towards social gatherings and festive activities than the religious aspect.
  • Commercialization efforts by tea companies linked tea with Christmas cheer and gift-giving.

Christmas Tea Take a Pause

Whatever reasons contributed to the popularity of Christmas Tea, I am in favor. It’s one of those ‘forced pauses’ that allows us to ‘stop and smell the roses’ over the holidays. During the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year, a pause is always a good thing.

What other holiday traditions do you enjoy? Or which ones have you let go by the wayside? It’s interesting to see what we did as a child vs what we still do today.

Holiday Traditions

When I was a child, we had never heard of St. Nick’s Day. So when it became popular during the time our children were growing up, I had a hard time remembering to have the kids put out a shoe before bedtime for St. Nick’s overnight visit. My consistency with that tradition was bad so it never really took hold at our house.

Some families open gifts on Christmas Eve and others on Christmas morning or some variation in between. Some families hang stockings to be filled. Some families leave a note with cookies/carrots for Santa and his reindeer. Some families have a certain meal over the holidays (my husband’s family had Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve!). Some families go to a movie theater on Christmas Day. Some families run to two or more houses on Christmas day. Some families celebrate holidays other than Christmas. So much variation!

The Importance of Traditions

No matter what the tradition, I think part of the value is in the fact that you have a tradition. It becomes part of who you are, what you value, and something you look forward to. There is no right or wrong here. If you grew up with a tradition you love, keep it. If you didn’t, then choose and start one you do love. Never too late!

I encourage you to intentionally think about your traditions, in terms of current and future. Really soak in the enjoyment of the current ones you intend to keep. But also give some thought to any you might want to start.

Appreciating Quite Times

In this older and wiser time of life, I am noticing more quiet times. With four children, we were plenty busy until Empty Nester time. And now, there are 19 of us when we are all together (9 grandchildren keep the house noisy again). But between our together times, I see the opportunity to be totally in charge of the quiet time busyness.

One of my quiet time realizations is that end-of-year holiday time is a good traditional time for me to think about my intentions, hopes, and wishes for the next year. I’m a believer in New Year’s Resolutions. Even if you don’t fulfill them, the exercise of reflecting and then looking forward with intention is worth doing.

Good Intentions

Yay for me! Wearing this hat was one of my New Year’s Resolutions this past January (to wear my Grandmother’s hats more often)! I find it motivating to have a variety of new habits or projects I want to tackle. Some fun and some not so fun, but important nonetheless.

A Time for Reflections

Maybe a tradition of reflecting on the year in December should be our prerequisite for declaring our resolutions for the new year in January. If you’re like me, a reflection on the year may uncover the realization that everyone is aging. And all around us, we have friends/family dealing with illness, incapacity, and death.

This would fall under the ‘not so fun’ category of projects to consider in the new year but getting financially organized makes those stressful times go so much smoother. Tony Steuer, financial literacy guru, suggests the best place to start is with a FREE Get Ready Roadmap. It provides habits, an organizing guide, and tips plus a newsletter with weekly action items.

 “I don’t want my family to deal with the aggravation I have gone through with my parents’ affairs…”

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If you don’t already, I encourage part of your holiday traditions to include a personal reflection on your year. And then, more importantly, to turn that into your intentions for the year ahead. Traditions are a wonderful part of life, make this one you do for yourself.

What holiday traditions from childhood do you still enjoy today? What new traditions have you incorporated into your holidays? Do you have a favorite or least favorite one? Let’s have a conversation!

Marie Burns is a Certified Financial Planner, Speaker, and Author of the bestselling Financial Checklist books. Find Marie on Facebook or contact her at [email protected]

This article was first published at 60 and Me  a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.