We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
When you have kids and enter middle age, you think about what you will leave behind you for the future, for future generations in your family line. Everybody does that, I think, in their own way. It's the way culture and subcultures are maintained.
Valued (or not) material items and photos are one sentimental part of that, but these things become diluted and dispersed over time, as does any money that is left behind. A family's cultural traditions, habits, and pleasures are the best inheritance to leave behind with hopes that they will carry meaning and value as far into the future as you can throw them. Messages from the graveyards - from your own future graveyard, and those of your ancestors.
The parental job is transmission of genes and culture, and the provision of food and shelter. That's about it, but it's not an easy job in today's world. If you were a serf on a lord's estate in England in 1300, it was an uncomplicated if tiresome job.
I've never been a big fan of tradition, but I believe the best gift I can give is to teach my children and grandchildren about my faith in Christ and to set an example of humility, forgiveness, stewardship, generosity, and love, all with God's strength and grace, of course. I can't do it on my own!
Traditions are important - very important - but not immutable. They connect us to the past, provide us a keel and rudder with which to steer into the future. Hopefully - - parents have taught their children well, since each generation needs to understand them and accept the ones they think most important. We are always one generation away from losing our traditions; once lost, they're nearly impossible to regain.
Traditions ,in my mind, binds a family. My children are in their late thirties and whenever we get together conversation invariably beomes a reminiscence of the past. The grandchildren join in and they get an understanding of why they have certain traditions and how it has been carried forward. We all end up laughing and carrying on about the past. Recently my grandson made an airplane out of tongue depressors for his grandfather. We hung it on the Christmas tree next to his father's sled made out of popsicle sticks from the 1980's. Perhaps one day a great grandson will have an ornament on the tree. Tradition a bit of glue in an ever changing world.