Preserving Fire – The Importance of Traditions

New Year’s Eve. December 31st means different things to different people. For me, it definitely meant something different from grade school, to high school, to college, and the few years thereafter. Now, with a family, it once again means something completely unique and ties a new series of memories together each year.

Fact: New Year’s Eve is just a day like any other day on the calendar. When you break it down, just as many friends of ours went to bed before midnight as those who partied to some degree until the ball dropped. Last year, when our son was two, we went to dinner as a family and then ice skating at The Depot in Minneapolis. While this single experience in itself was memorable, that evening spurred something I love about being a part of a family and any other unit of human gathering – traditions.

Traditions are a big deal. After we went to The Depot on December 31, 2014, we knew we would be back. That beautiful location, coupled with the joy on our two year old’s face and the way a few pairs of skates brought our family together through shared emotions, organically created a means to string together yet another special series of moments. Traditions bring familiarity, love, togetherness, experience, and most importantly – a platform to pass each of these from person to person, and generation to generation.

Gustav Mahler said, “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” Think about that for a minute. Think about the moments in your life that contributed to the person you are today, the memories that force a smile each time they enter your thoughts, those impactful experiences where you preserved and passed down ‘fire’ to the most important people in your life. Chances are many of those were traditions. From attending hockey games with your son to gathering around the table with family at Thanksgiving to that annual camping trip you look forward to each summer, we all preserve fire with our families and friends in our own way.

During our second annual New Year’s Eve at The Depot, we preserved fire with our son. Yes, he had the time of his life on those skates and laughed until his cheeks were rosy, but even more powerful is the building and strengthening of those positive and blissful memories each and every year. And since every year is a little different, and will be going forward, all those nuances, quirks, and unique laughs only add to the impact of this particular tradition. Every second we spend as a family at The Depot on New Year’s Eve offers the opportunity to create another memory, and compounded year after year, it becomes easy to comprehend the reason traditions are such an influential part of our lives. Our son will benefit from these traditions to the same degree my wife and I benefited from them when we were younger.

We each hold these traditions close to our hearts, and I encourage everyone to find ways to make special moments, events, outings, and gatherings into traditions. Because even if decades down the road the people we shared those traditions with are no longer in our lives, we preserved fire with them, and we can continue to pass it on to those we love. I know I look forward to adding logs to our New Year’s Eve fire again next year. Maybe we’ll see you at The Depot.


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