Category Archives: Traditions

Death and the After Life

Various burial rites

Burial Rites for all Cultures and Religions.

In a letter dated from 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Our new constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Whether we’re 20 or 80, the certainty of death is something we all think about. What you believe happens after death depends on your culture, your religion and other personal beliefs. Some believe in the possibility of an afterlife, while others believe in reincarnation or that death is permanent and there is nothing afterwards. Our beliefs in what happens to us when we finally leave this world plays a huge role in how our earthly bodies are handled.

Funerals are commonplace, regardless of one’s personal religious or cultural beliefs. Funerals give family, friends and others the opportunity for closure, but they also can play a significant role in preparing the deceased person for whatever they believe to be the next step. Continue reading


Celebrate the Season the Right Way

Celebrate holidays by giving to others

Four Meaningful Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season.

Bob Hope once espoused that his idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, was very simple: loving others. “Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” he asked.

It is a good question. While there are many people who give of their time and talents year-round, the holiday season always brings with it an increase in generosity. Maybe it has something to do with the spirit of the season or the fact that around the holidays, charities and other nonprofit organizations are more vocal about their needs.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), 72 percent of all charitable contributions received are from individual donors. Only 5 percent of corporations and 15 percent of foundations donate to charitable organizations. The remaining 8 percent comes from bequests.

While monetary donations are a big part of the holiday season, they are not the only way to make a difference this holiday season. Let’s talk about some of the most meaningful ways to give back and bring joy to others as we celebrate the season. Continue reading


How to be Truly Thankful

Thankful Family

Three Ways to Focus on Gratefulness.

Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”

Thanksgiving, by its very name, is supposed to be about being thankful for the things we have and reflecting on the simple pleasures of life. However, life – for many of us – has become incredibly hectic. We often feel over-scheduled and unable to take the time to simply relax and enjoy ourselves.

When Thanksgiving was celebrated for the first time in 1621 at Plymouth Rock by the Pilgrims and Native Americans, the event lasted for three days. During that time, thanks were given for the first successful corn harvest. The second such Thanksgiving was held in 1623 to denote the end of a long drought that had threatened the harvest. Soon, the tradition caught on in other New England settlements.

Over the years, several presidents declared official days of thanks, but not for the same reason the Pilgrims and Native Americans originally celebrated it. George Washington declared an official Thanksgiving in 1789 and encouraged Americans to celebrate the successful conclusion of the war of independence. John Adams and James Madison also designated days of Thanksgiving during their presidencies, each being celebrated in a different way for a different reason. Continue reading


Letting go of Family Traditions

Senior couple preparing family tradions meal in kitchen

Trade in Family Traditions for Less Stress

Take a minute, close your eyes and picture one of your favorite family traditions. Maybe it’s sharing Thanksgiving dinner at mom’s house with the extended family. Maybe it’s that extraordinary holiday party your grandma throws each year. How about the family reunion an aunt organizes and hosts every year?

We all have our favorite family traditions, most of which involve large gatherings with family members that include food and fun.

As we age, these family traditions can be both enjoyable and stressful. While we relish the opportunity to reminisce with friends and family, share a meal or attend a social event, if we are the ones who are hosting the event or in charge of organizing it, that task can become more difficult as we get older. Continue reading