I have changed my mind on this one.
When I first started my own household, I proudly imported and also created holiday traditions with my husband. For the first nine years of our formal relationship, we always drank champagne while we decorated the tree, we threw a FAB-ulous Holiday party and we had a holiday lunch with each other on the last day of work in the calendar year.
Then we had a child. The traditions morphed. Champagne seemed a bit risky if you were not sure when the baby will wake you up in the morning. I read somewhere that poinsetta's were poisonous so they were scrubbed. The holidy party started earlier and our friends wore machine washable clothes to limit baby puke disasters.
We did the child years with a party upstairs for the adults and downstairs for the kids. It was chaotic, but fun. Santa was not an issue anymore, but we still were required to put out milk and cookies per my 10-year-old daughter's demand. We went to see the Christmas ships on the bay and drank hot chocolate.
Then we moved to Georgetown and the traditions became more local. The National Christmas Tree is always worth a visit on a cold evening. We still have a Christmas party, but my teenage daughter may or may not attend. And she certainly will not invite her friends...too boring.
We do make a point of picking out the tree together, but I am asked to buy the tree from her crew team friends or soccer team friends or theater friends... We do not let her drink champagne and she has never asked. However, she does have new traditions that include ice skating with middle school friends, a breakfast to catch up with a buddy and other social events that do not include us—just our car.
Next year she will be coming home for the holidays. We will be an important touchstone, but we will need to understand that her holiday visit to our house in Georgetown will include dates with old friends and many events without us.
But traditions are not supposed to be static. And woe to the person who tries to hang on. A family tradition is good if it makes us happy to be together and makes us smile. It is the result, not the specific tradition that is important. It is the end, not the means that matters.
Although, I hope Santa gets cookies this year...and a carrot for the reindeer.