Photo Tip: December's Photo Challenge Theme

This month's photo challenge theme is "Traditions." December is a month rich with them, the world over. Here at home we have our familiar Christmas hubbub, and the less- commercialized traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

In many parts of Western Europe, Sinterklaas is an early December feast to celebrate Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children.

The ancient winter festival of Yule, celebrated in Northern Europe, is where many of our modern Christmas traditions originated -- the Christmas tree, the Yule log, mistletoe, even ham on the dinner table.

The word "tradition" comes from the Latin "traditio" meaning to "hand down" or to "hand over." In our case, we hand down beliefs, customs, and practices from one generation to the next.

Sometimes traditions are family-specific. But many find their roots in broad groups of people who share common history, culture, customs, and teachings.

Traditions, therefore, can take on many forms -- from specific foods (like seasonal dishes or holiday-specific treats) to special decorations (like a wreath on the door or boughs on the rail). And, of course, traditions imply actions, too -- like the annual decorating of the tree or lighting of the menorah.

This month, be on the lookout for the traditions in your life -- or those you come across and can respectfully photograph.

When you submit your photo to this month's theme, be sure to provide a clear descriptive caption of the tradition you're portraying.

I am looking forward to seeing and learning about some (new to me) traditions.

And I wish you a wonderful season full of loved ones, laughter, and your own special traditions.

Submissions for December's challenge are due by 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, December 31.  You can submit your photos by clicking on the "Enter to Win" tab on our website:

Look for a list of November's winners in next week's Photo Tip.

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