Coming from different backgrounds and cultures, it's no surprise that my husband and I have different opinions about how (or if) to celebrate various holidays. Up until now, we've operated under the philosophy that if it's important to one of us, it's worth having the both of us honor the holiday. For example, I never particularly celebrated New Year's Eve or New Year's Day until my husband shared some of the Japanese traditions with me. After several years of celebrating this holiday with his family, I decided it was worthwhile for us to find a way to celebrate it in our own way when we couldn't travel to Japan a couple of years ago. I ordered the お節料理 (osechi-ryôri). We purchased a pre-made version of the traditional Japanese New Year's breakfast and celebrated in style at home. My husband appreciated that I initiated this idea and that we started our own family tradition of sorts.
Now that we're in Japan, I'm struggling with how to institute or maintain the family traditions that I have often associated with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not only do I long for the familiarity of traditions when I'm away from home, but I think that lasting impact of sharing traditions with our daughter will be significant. And frankly, I think that once we grow up and move away from our families of origin, it's harder to maintain that sense of continuity and tradition no matter where we go whether it's 20 miles from home, or 2,000. Even when we lived in Seattle, I struggled with how much to do and what to do to make the holidays come alive. Having started a family gives new life and importance to this mission. I have some ideas of what I'd like to do to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas (I'm focused on the immediate future for now!), but I'd love to hear from others. What kind of old family traditions have you carried over and instituted in your own families? Are there new traditions that you've started, especially once you've moved away from your families of origin? Have you found any creative ways to maintain a tradition despite the challenges posed by living in a new location (i.e. difficulties finding foods or supplies/resources in your new home)?