Why Holiday Traditions Are Even More Important This Year

By Dr. Mike Hill


While 2020 may not be the worst year in recorded history, it has certainly been a challenging one for a lot of people. Many have suffered financial distress, family disruptions, shattered dreams, and the loss of family members during this pervasive pandemic. COVID-19 has not spared any race, class, or other social demographic known to man. Yet, there is some saving grace in this year and some compelling reasons why this holiday season is so important. So, as we spark up our regular holiday traditions, here are some thoughts on why they may be more important than we realize.

  1. Traditions are good as long as they continue to point us to their original purposes. There are numerous traditions observed during the holiday season: family time, special food, lights, trees, decorations, music, and much more. Traditions are just as unique as the individuals who observe them. Most traditions predate us—they were passed down to us by those who came before. During that transition, however, the purpose of specific traditions can easily become lost as subsequent generations become increasingly distant for the original inceptions. Traditions are only good when they continue to point us back to their original intentions. Thus, reminding us of the values that are truly important such as family, benevolence, peace, and goodness toward one another. The 2020 pandemic brought the world to a screeching stall and required all of mankind to work together in order to prevail. Holiday traditions remind us to do just that without the need for a crisis. They are moments of reflection and reminders to stop and be human—to enjoy the present.

  2. Traditions help us see the familiar in the strange. The disruptions that come with a pervasive crisis can have both visible and latent effects. They can practically shatter our worlds and shake our beliefs, pushing us into less than familiar territories. During the holiday season, familiar traditions help point us back to wholesomeness and truth. As we look back over the years, we are not only reminded of what we have come through, but we are left with the indelible refrain that despite the magnitude of the crisis…this too shall pass.

  3. Traditions helps us see the strange in the familiar. One thing the COVID pandemic has taught us, is how to do things differently. During this holiday season, we may not be able to keep traditions as we have in the past, and that is ok. All good traditions are adaptable to every generation. Traditions are good, in as much as they point us back to their original intentions. Some family gatherings may be virtual this year, we may not be able to hug or visit grandma, and we may not have the money for expensive gifts. However, can we find a way to still reach out to family, can we find a way to show grandma how loved is and how important she has been to our family, can we give kids our “presence” rather than our presents? Crises can shake us up, but getting back to the heart and soul of who we are and why we do what we do can keep us remain steady through it all.

UPA is incredibly grateful for each every one of our parents, students, staff, and community partners. We wish you the merriest of all Christmases and happiest of all New Years. May this season find you and your family, whole, healthy, and fulfilled.

Dr. Mike Hill is the Principal of University Preparatory in West Palm Beach, FL. He has a passion for serving others through education. He has more than 16 years of experience in various instructional and leadership roles in both public and private sectors of education.