The holiday season is nearly upon us, and it is time to start thinking about holiday traditions. When the holiday season rolls around, families typically begin engaging in traditions practiced year after year.
If you have a new family, you have an opportunity to create new family traditions that represent you.
Suppose you have a blended family coming together with traditions and experiences of their own. In that case, it is vital to blend the traditions thoughtfully to create opportunities for honoring old traditions while building new.
Humans are creatures of habit, and we tend to find comfort in the repetition of traditions that we find soothing. Some practices we engage in on a community level, while others we preserve just for our family.
Traditions often serve to bring back positive memories built around love and support, so repeating those traditions adds layers of value to the experience. Plus, you create memories as you add new people into your life and family.
As families grow and shift, it becomes vital to create some new traditions that support a growing and evolving family's needs.
Fortunately, just because a dynamic changes does not mean old traditions are cast away for all new. Ideally, families can recreate and celebrate the comfort of old traditions while ushering in a few new ones that continually add value to a holiday season's experience.
While deciding what holiday traditions to include in your family's life, consider transitioning from old to new traditions.
Ask yourself what traditions were the most meaningful in your childhood. By determining what memories carry the most meaning, you can include them in some new ways of celebrating.
For instance, if you traditionally decorated a holiday tree as a family, that might be a tradition that carries over.
Also, when you look back at your childhood, consider what traditions you appreciate the adults carried through. If you have fond memories of a parent cooking or looking at Christmas lights, consider how you feel with those memories and work to recreate that same feeling in your family.
Furthermore, it's essential to acknowledge some traditions hold memories that add no value to the holiday experience. Fortunately, you don't have to repeat traditions that do not hold value, but it is sometimes hard to recognize which practices to let fall by the wayside.
Lastly, it's vital to consider the traditions held by others in a blended family. Step-families coming together can blend the best and most meaningful practices to honor one another's experiences.
Since you create long-lasting feelings about your new family traditions, you should set your intentions for the holiday season.
For instance, consider what you don't want to bring into your family as a tradition. Some traditions are an added stressor or create opportunities for family strive.
If you keep your intentions in mind, you can better side-step vexations and create magic opportunities for everyone.
Take into consideration the emotional needs and the age of your children. Newly blended families have different needs than those with young children.
On the other hand, if you have aging family members blended with younger members, it's important to consider how to accommodate various people.
However, this does not mean you must do everything. By carefully considering the individuals' personalities and needs that make up your family, you can easily blend a new family and traditions.
As families grow and change, remember that it's alright if some traditions fade. If this happens, it doesn't mean joy did not emerge from those experiences. In fact, it's natural for traditions to evolve.
However, even if traditions change and grow, those memories are still intact. As children grow into their own families, they will likely revive traditions at critical stages for their children. In this way, those traditions evolve in their own families.
Also, holiday traditions are supposed to be fun and bring meaning to the experience. If a practice is creating stress instead of bringing peace, it might be time to let something go.
Too often, we shoulder the weight of creating a holiday experience without considering our stress level. In that case, it takes away from the experience for everyone. Be gentle with yourself.
To help get you thinking, we collaborated on some ideas to get your wheels turning.
If you usually have a fake tree, maybe it's time to consider a live one. The entire act of picking out a tree and bringing it home is a tradition, just like decorating.
And if you are lucky enough to live near a tree farm where you can pick out your live tree, take advantage of the activity and fresh air as a family.
Most families open presents on Christmas Morning. But does it have to be that way?
In addition to the Christmas morning job, consider giving a gift or two on Christmas Eve. For instance, a new comfy pair of pajamas or a robe along with a family movie and popcorn is a beautiful tradition to create some family time.
With a busy family, family meals are often disjointed if they happen at all. So, a family meal during the holidays is an investment of love and time.
Consider working on non-traditional meal ideas instead of what you usually do. That is a perfect opportunity to celebrate other cultures' foods or to recognize regional favorites in a blended family.
With families growing and changing, add another ornament to the tree each year. Take the time to find something that celebrates your family's journey, so it represents a positive message.
As the years go by, those ornaments add up and become cherished. When you decorate your tree each year, you have an opportunity to reflect on your family's growth and celebrate your accomplishments.
Looking at Christmas lights is a common tradition. Think about adding to this exciting tradition by creating a scavenger hunt for your kids.
Do you see a Rudolf? How about a house in all white lights? Make up a list and hand it out to the whole family. Doing this helps get everyone involved and engaged instead of passively looking at pretty lights.
The holiday season is a time of celebration and reflection. During this time, we have an opportunity to invest in our relationships with family.
As families grow and change, there often comes a time when the traditions we celebrate evolve, as well.
Remember, creating new traditions does not have to be complicated. Simply keep the traditions you wish to continue, and add new ones representing those who make up your family.
What new traditions did you include this year? Answer in the comments.
A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.