Bonded by Tradition {Inez Bayardo for #wholemama}


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By Inez Bayardo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  A time for singing, decorating, gift-giving, celebrating and spending time with family.

And for many, it’s a time of tradition.

I looked up the meaning of tradition in the dictionary. Tradition is: “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation”.

We don’t have anything like that. I thought.

Well, except for eating tamales every year.

I know people who grew up going to grandma’s house for a day of cookie making and decorating every year and still do it.

I can’t recall having ever made a cookie with my grandma.


Neither one of them, actually.

Growing up when I heard about all the things kids at school did with their families, it kind of bothered me that my family didn’t have “traditions”.

No one sat us down and read us the Christmas story. We didn’t go to a Christmas service, there was no advent candle lighting, we didn’t get a special ornament every year… or new pajamas… or any of the other things “all” of my friends seemed to do.

We just ate. And sang. And played games.

That was our tradition.

Oh and all of the cousins used to put on a Christmas show every year which sometimes involved choreography and other times singing or acting. If we were real ambitious, we’d do all three! When one of my uncles got a video camera, this turned into an annual Christmas movie. My family lived too far away to participate in the making of the movie but we looked forward to watching it and to receiving our copy every single year.

That was our tradition.

Also, when we were young children and spent Christmas with our extended family we opened presents at midnight on Christmas Eve. Everyone would rip into their gifts as soon as the clock struck twelve. It was loud, chaotic, messy and wonderful.

That was our tradition.

Once we stopped having Christmas with our extended family, there was some disagreements on when the presents should be opened. For some reason, the dispute only came up on Christmas Eve. Mostly between my brother and I. Even now, we argue about it. And every year we decide to let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve.

This is our tradition.

When I was in middle school my mom bought my siblings and I new stockings. They each have the head of a character (my siblings have Looney Toons characters and I have a white teddy bear). As we’ve added new family members, we’ve added new stockings. Just last week, my parents came home with a Rudolph stocking for my son – the newest addition to our family.

This is our tradition.

For years now, on Christmas morning my mom has made this quiche-like dish… we have no idea what it’s called and pretty much every year, we try to name it.

This also is our tradition.

A stranger may look at my mom’s mantle full of stockings and see nothing but a bunch of weird characters but when I look at it, I see family. I remember the time when there was only three and I wonder how many more we will add. 

Family Mantle

Other people may think it’s odd that we even care about when the presents are opened but for us, probably more so my brother since he’s an advocate for the midnight gift opening, it reminds us of our childhood Christmases with our cousins – our loud, chaotic, messy and wonderful Christmases.

My family’s traditions may not be like the ones that other people have (and vice versa) or they may not be the kind that I sometimes think we should have but they’re our traditions.

They’re part of what makes us a family.

Traditions are so much more than customs that are passed down from generation to generation.

Traditions evoke fond memories. Traditions give us something to look forward to – something we long to see our children and our children’s children enjoy in the future.

They connect us. They bring a sense of belonging.

What you do as a tradition doesn’t matter as much as who you do it with. Because, in the end, it’s our family – our loved ones – that really matter.

It’s not the customs themselves but the people that are bonded by them.

Inez_BayardoHi, I’m Inez! I’m a Christ follower, first time mom, former children’s pastor, shower singer, makeup hoarder and daydreamer.

Oh, and, of course… I love to write! When I was a little girl I used to dream about being a writer. I used to write about being a writer. That dream comes true through some freelance projects and also through my blog,



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4 thoughts on “Bonded by Tradition {Inez Bayardo for #wholemama}

  1. Inez, I am a sucker for a great conclusion line, and this is a great one: “It’s not the customs themselves but the people that are bonded by them.” Thank you for sharing your story it was easy to relate to and brought back fun memories of my own chaotic holidays.


  2. I love your menagerie of traditions and that some (the stockings with characters) weren’t even started until you were in middle school. I feel the love of your family in this post.


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