The Gift of Tradition

Lori Jude

It has become a yearly Christmas tradition in our family. We eat dinner at a local restaurant, go to the Festival of Trees and Trains at the Paramount Arts Center, and finish the night by driving around Central Park to see Winter Wonderland of Lights while listening to our favorite holiday music––usually “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby or the “Home Alone Soundtrack.” 

Christmas in Ashland truly is magical, memorable, and the things of which traditions are made. I’ve heard it said and seen it in print; we are a Christmas town and are becoming well known for the Christmas nostalgia we bring to families and individuals each holiday season. 


Each year, our hometown holiday season is comprised of a Christmas parade, the Festival of Trees and Trains at the Paramount Arts Center, Winter Wonderland of Lights at Central Park, a variety of Christmas plays and shows at various locations, and so much more! 

There are Christmas lights strung through the streets, homes decorated to the Christmas-nines, Christmas cookie decorating classes, wreath making contests, and many Christmas bazaars and craft fairs––all showcasing some of our area’s finest craftsmen and skilled artists. 

While Ashland holds a plethora of Christmas activities, sights and traditions to behold, so do our surrounding areas. The holiday traditions of Ironton, Portsmouth, Huntington, Grayson, Greenup and other surrounding areas help us collectively, and with great success, bring forth the spirit of the holiday season that both enamors and dwells within most individuals during this festive time of year.

Sadly, for some, thoughts of holiday traditions are associated with poor memories, upbringings, and/or experiences.  But tradition, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing. According to Merriam Webster the word tradition is “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.”

Tradition is one of the ways we preserve the precious past, and in a world where precarity is on the rise, preservation of our past is of the utmost importance. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found out how much I value participating in traditions.  Some traditions my family has carried on from past generations, and some we’ve established on our own. 

One such newly established tradition I hope my children carry into future years is the passing down of my decorative Mary & Martha cake and dessert dish.  It is heavy-duty, well made, and has held many delectable Christmas desserts inside its glass dome, bringing smiles and laughter to the faces of my family over the years. In a world where merchandise is plentiful and easily discarded, having a special, tangible object attached to a memorable time of year is a wonderful tradition to pass down from generation to generation.

In closing, what traditions do you and your family hold dear, and which of those traditions will you pass down to future generations? Maybe it’s an annual drive to see a Christmas light display or putting up a Christmas tree. Or perhaps you can’t think of one now––that’s ok! However, please know there is no time like the present to begin––pun intended. Traditions really are a present––a gift! A gift that keeps on giving after all the other gifts have lost their luster!

Because, in the end, it won’t be the body spray giftset or the knit sweater you received in cutesy Christmas wrapping that will stick in your memory. Nay. What sticks will be the traditions that you and your loved ones carried on or established that will be remembered most.  

This year give the gift that keeps on giving.  Give the gift of tradition.