I have some of the most random screenshots on my phone and every once in a while I’ll go through and clean them out. Sometimes I can’t remember why I was saving it and other times it jogs a thought or memory that stays with me.

Here’s a screenshot I saved a couple weeks ago – and as soon as I saw it again, my thoughts were just as fresh as the first time I saw it.

I love traditions – especially during the holidays. The things my kids know they can look forward to year after year. And I know I’ve written about this before, but sometimes we do something once and our kids claim it as a “tradition” and it wasn’t ever intentional, or meant to be anything more than a one time event. And 5 years later we’re wondering why we’re still doing it.

I’ve had the same thought about gift giving recently. We used to give gifts to my siblings, which we stopped years ago because it became too much to try and ship gifts across the country. But Steve’s siblings still exchange gifts (on a rotation). And it’s not as if I hate giving gifts, quite the opposite, but I’ve asked several times if it’s a tradition we should stick with. There’s often grumbling about having to find a gift for so-and-so or buying something just to be done with it. Perhaps the tradition could shift to providing gifts for another family instead of exchanging within the family.

But traditions are hard to give up. No one wants to be the Debbie-downer that pulls the plug on anything. And so traditions limp along despite no one really pushing them along.

I love the last part of the question – Does the effort equal the joy? As far as Christmas is concerned, this requires a deliberate and intentional approach to the season. I find myself going into autopilot this time of year – we do the same things almost every year. And over the years, without being intentional, we’ve acquired a pretty long to-do list of traditions. What’s hard is trying to cut out some of the traditions when you still have little kids that benefit from them even though the rest of the crew has grown up and moved on. That’s the balance we’re trying to find right now. Do I really want to go to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa? Not really! But I still have kids that are looking forward to that experience and the rest of the kids are such good sports and tag along.

I’m not sure if I’m making any major changes this year – but this was a good reminder to evaluate. Take stock as to what traditions are currently serving our family.