With New Year’s Eve remaining, the fall and winter holiday season is coming to a close. How do you feel? If your answer is exhausted and relieved that everything’s almost in the rearview mirror, it may be time to reevaluate your holiday traditions. Blasphemous as it sounds, it’s okay to stop a holiday tradition that doesn’t fulfill you or even adds more stress to your life. Starting over is healthy, and here are four tips on creating holiday traditions that work for you:
Bid Farewell to the Old Tradition
As they say, out with the old and in with the new. However, it’s important to consider giving a tradition its proper closure. Something as long-standing as a tradition, especially one shared by other family members, might be best served with a dignified sendoff. I recommend reflecting on all elements of a tradition and then moving on to the new one.
Choose What Works Best For You
As the architect of your new tradition, you have the freedom to make it what you want. So much of the aggravation that accompanies holiday traditions is trying to fulfill the needs and wants of others. You now have the opportunity to make it about you and your family. You know what’s best for you and what will set you all up for success. Give a family holiday dinner without the dinner a shot. Schedule the meal at a restaurant, and keep the invitation open to anyone who’d like to join.
Take A Holiday Sabbatical
Maybe you’re just not up for hosting or even participating in a holiday this year due to a heavy life event. The loss of a loved one can feel overwhelming, and perhaps your grief is too raw for you to handle it. “Sometimes a family may not be ready to create a new tradition and celebrating old traditions may not feel right either,” says Dr. Jessica Troilo, Associate Professor at West Virginia University. “In that case, not celebrating the holidays, or not doing as much to prepare and host and create, may be what’s best….it may provide the rest and solace needed to help with the grief process.”
Make Some Tweaks
It’s possible that you don’t need to reinvent the tradition wheel. It could be that your holiday tradition only needs some modifications. On New Year’s Eve, you don’t have to stay up till midnight. Grill only burgers and brats on 4th of July, and lose the hotdogs. Alternate hosting Thanksgiving with your brother or sister. In this case the sum of the tradition’s parts is greater than the whole.
Sometimes a holiday tradition needs to come to a close if it no longer feels right. Say goodbye to it, create a new one, put it on hiatus, or modify it. By trying something different, you’ll be doing yourself and your family a great service.
How do you create holiday traditions that work for you?