Another holiday season is upon us. For some, it’s a joyful time, brought to life by family traditions. For others, the traditions that once brought joy, create tension, sadness or frustration.
I spoke to a mom over the weekend before she headed out with her family to cut down a Christmas tree. She dreaded going. They were getting a late start, the kids, now older, weren’t that into it, and once home she didn’t want to decorate the tree.
My own boys, now teens, have waning interest in decking the tree. My older son usually needs a bit of coaxing but it was clear this year he was simple done with the task. He hung a few ornaments, then politely asked, “Can I go now?”
The first few Christmases after our father died filled us with dread. How do you go on after such a loss? Our savvy mother came up with the idea of supporting another family, even more impoverished than we were. We asked the neighbors for clothing and food and collected stocking stuffers from local businesses. It gave us something to focus on instead of our own grief.
Is it time to re-organize some of your traditions?
According to Wikipedia, “A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes (like lawyer wigs or military officer spurs), but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word “tradition” itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time.“
When re-organizing a child’s room, needs go through many stages. As infants, they need a crib, a place to change diapers, perhaps a rocking chair for feeding and soothing. By the time they’re teens, all of those items are obsolete.
We can view traditions the same way. Just because “we’ve always done it this way,” doesn’t mean we always should.
Consider evaluating your holiday traditions this year. Then organize them to fit your evolving lifestyle. You and your loved ones will be happy you did.