For me, the holiday season essentially starts with Halloween. I enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. I have friends that celebrate Hanukkah, and in the past I’ve been able to join in. The holiday traditions we have bring joy to our lives and allow us to spend time with family and friends.
Recently, I’ve been in the process of trying to decide how to create new holiday traditions. My son and I moved across the country, and all of the things we used to do for the holidays — particularly for Christmas — are out the window. In fact, my son and I won’t even be spending Christmas together this year, and there’s a good chance that my son will regularly spend Christmas with his father going forward.
This has me thinking about how to create new holiday traditions. Whether you’re just getting married or whether you’ve got a different major life change disrupting your usual holiday approach, you need to think about what you can do to keep the spirit alive for the holidays.
Decide What Matters Most to You
When you set out to create new holiday traditions, the first step is to figure out what matters most to you. My ex-husband values time to relax more than anything else. As a result, our Christmas tradition became staying at home and taking it easy. After sleeping in, we’d open presents and then do what we liked best during the day. For my son, that was building his new LEGO sets and playing video games. For me it was sitting on the couch with a good book. For my husband, it was going back to bed.
Now, my son and I are figuring out what we want for new traditions. This year is the first time we’ll be traveling for the holiday season, and since we like travel, I have a feeling that this might become our new tradition. Going somewhere else for Christmas seems like a good way to go about things. We’re keeping some traditions, like setting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving and listening to Christmas music while we do so, but we’re also looking at new traditions, like sledding more and using the fireplace while we talk about Christmas.
Look at what matters most to you. Spending time with family? Bringing one favored tradition from your family and combining it with a tradition from your partner’s? Start your new tradition by basing it on what matters most to you about the holidays. You can start new traditions that reflect what matters most to you.
Get Others Involved
You can help stick with the tradition by getting others involved. Talk with your family members about your desire to create new holiday traditions, and get ideas. When everyone is on board, it will be easier to maintain. Sometimes, holiday traditions come into being by accident. For years, my parents have given each of the siblings and grandchildren calendars. It was one of many gifts, and many of us look forward to receiving the calendars, which are chosen based on our interests. One year, my parents didn’t give calendars. We were all disappointed, and my parents realized this was a tradition — even though it wasn’t thought of as one, or started consciously. Now we’re back to receiving calendars.
Getting help from others as you create new holiday traditions ensures staying power, and it also makes the season more festive and enjoyable. Remember that you can do anything you want to do for the holidays. Invite others to join you and get them involved. You might be surprised at how great (and easy) it can be to start new traditions and share your love.