There is a cachet placed on traditions which stand the test of time. Being linear beings who live relatively brief lives, we have a reverence for things which outlast us. This includes holiday traditions. They connect us to our past, to loved ones near and far, to the generations who have gone before us, to our community, and our culture.  They are part of the narrative we weave to define ourselves whether that be through the joy of being able to participate or the sarcastic bitterness of being forced to participate.

However, it is not uncommon for people to hear “time-tested” and think of something which has survived through many years. Basically treating it as a nicer way of saying old. But that’s not actually what it means. Standing the test of time isn’t just about resisting entropy. Someone who is 100 isn’t time-tested because they managed to live that long, they have instead stood the test or rather tests of time. They have managed to survive and even thrive through everything that life has thrown at them. They remain a part of the world around them, relevant in ever-changing and new ways, connected through various means to life and continue to uphold their part of the web of life. They are time-tested not because their heart is still beating, not because they exist on the physical plane, but because they are continuing to contribute their verse to the poetry which is life.

Holiday traditions should be held to the same standard. They shouldn’t be revered because they are still happening years later, devoid of meaning and performed by rote because no one knows what else to do or is afraid that a change might end the world. Holiday traditions should be living things. Each holiday they should be tested, time tested, to see if they remain relevant. They might need a bit of adjusting, a little sprucing up, a slight repair here or there. What they mean or how they are connected into the rhythm of things might change, like a very old ornament too fragile or broken to be on the tree any longer, but placed on the mantle as a precious memory.  If a tradition has outlived its purpose, causes more disharmony and discomfort than joy, or brings in negativity, set it aside to be reviewed. If it can be modified, adjusted, repaired or replenished, then do that and you’re good to go. If it’s lived beyond it’s moment, then retire it with thanks and grace.