Along with the first true cold front of the year, the smells and sounds of the Holiday season are ushered in.

I love this time of year!

Christmas songs blaring through every speaker, in every store.

Cinnamon-scented pinecones encourage my desire for holiday cookies.

Around every corner my senses are stirred and with them memories from years gone by rush in.

I’m craving my mother’s homemade hot chocolate with a candy cane to stir it.

I want to snuggle on the couch and watch my favorite holiday movies with the ones I love,

drinking eggnog out of Santa mugs.

Over the years we acquire traditions that mean something special only to those we are close to –

those that are privileged enough to share in the memory making magic.

My son and I always made gingerbread men and a gingerbread house in the days leading up to Christmas, when he was younger.

The year he went off to college, it was hard to even decorate a tree alone, much less bake gingerbread men.

He was an only child, so my nest was empty in one fell swoop!

When he came home for Christmas, surprisingly,  his first question was about the “missing” gingerbread house.

I never realized that it made an impact, or that he would even notice.

I eventually resumed this tradition with my nieces, and we are scheduled for a baking day soon!

I began to be more attentive to what the important traditions were to different members of my family.

There are some traditions that have fallen by the wayside, however. And some that bring a tear to my eye when I realize, as my son did that Christmas, that they have left a void.

I know that Christmas will still be Christmas without cookies and decorations and clove-infused oranges. I really don’t have to see the Nutcracker every year, or listen to Bing Crosby.

But listening to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee, and watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” snuggled up on the couch, bring warm memories of those I love that are no longer here.

As our family tree grows, we add others who have grown up with their own traditions.

My husband’s family and my daughter-in-law’s family, as well as the family’s that my sisters are now a part of all have things they do differently than my family did growing up.

It happens to all of us. Our traditions merge with marriage and growth.

It is up to each individual family to develop the traditions that create their own magic memories.

My husband and I have a “new” tree decorating tradition that is just ours!

I have a new photo tradition with my grandchildren in our pj’s by the tree on Christmas morning.

As the hustle and bustle beckons us from every direction, make a special effort to find those traditions that your family holds dear.

Take advantage of transitions (marriage, empty nest, new baby, etc.) to develop new traditions.

I love the bridge they create from one generation to the next!

What traditions make the holidays special to you? What new one can you make your own this year?

I’ll dance with my husband to Michael Buble’s Christmas CD in the kitchen,

celebrating the wondrous truth that Jesus is still the reason for the season!

This holiday season, I hope you dance!