My Christmas has always sounded like church bells, Bing Crosby and inside jokes.
It’s always looked like silver tinsel, ornaments so worn that I barely remember making them and my family’s sleepy faces early in the morning.
This year, however, due to my own little family’s needs Christmas will have new sights and smells—at my current home rather than where I grew up.
Maybe you think it’s childish to hang on so emotionally to family traditions, but I think there’s something magical about these shared annual rituals. Yet even traditions aren’t permanent; they must change or, at the very least, become slightly altered in order to make room for life.
Loved ones leave us for places we can no longer visit and new ones come into our lives offering their own spin on holiday celebrations. Still, such traditions are—and arguably should be—difficult to leave behind. So, here are five reasons to create new holiday traditions when the season’s right.
1. Your kids.
It’s easier for small children to celebrate in their own space. While this might not be necessary, or even possible, for your little ones, it’s important to put your child’s needs before your own. It is, after all, their turn to make lasting holiday memories.
2. Your partner.
Hopefully you’re in a serious relationship because you value the other person. If that’s the case, then one or both of you will have to bend. My husband and I grew up together and our parents still live only a few miles apart, yet we still have to divide up family arrangements and plans. Relationships take work, and holidays should be fun. Remember both.
3. Responsibilities are healthy.
My husband has a great job. This great job requires him to be back to work on the 26th. Being a healthy adult means that you have responsibilities and, really, downtime wouldn’t be rewarding if you didn’t have to earn it.
4. Change is an opportunity for growth.
Sometimes keeping the same traditions means you’re fighting personal growth and evolution. While it’s certainly special to honor your familial heritage, it’s also crucial to respect your own needs as your life—and family—changes and grows.
5. Nothing stays the same.
Nor should it. I’m a different person now than I was when I wrote the last sentence. If you’re so opposed to forging new territories, then maybe it’s best to examine why. Are you afraid of failure? Are you afraid of success? Are you simply afraid of the unknown? There’s nothing wrong with answering yes to any of these questions, but there is something wrong when that yes causes you to dig in your heels and stop being open to life—and its inevitable, perpetual, beautiful motion.
I may be 33, but I feel seven every time I see a house draped with tiny, white lights. This child in me just lights up when I think of how honored and blessed I am to be surrounded by my family’s love and that’s what I think tradition really is—people sharing love.
Here’s wishing you both love and light, wherever your celebrations take you.
Editor: Dareni Wellman
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