Holiday bake-offs. Elf on the Shelf. Seasonal light shows. Some of our favorite holiday traditions are precious to us, offering seasonal enjoyment with a huge helping of nostalgia.
But what happens when our traditions don’t exactly “spark joy” anymore?
Whether you’re dealing with new obligations, social distancing, family tension, a limited budget, or the stress of the pandemic, your favorite traditions may not feel as comforting as they used to, and that’s okay. Rituals can be a powerful thing, but only for as long as they bring us comfort and peace—especially this time of year.
When you’ve decided it’s time to take back your holiday traditions, here are a few tips to help you reinvent Christmas.
Create a New Holiday Menu
There’s nothing more traditional than old family recipes passed down from generation to generation. But sometimes, those traditional recipes can feel like more of a burden than a gift. Maybe you have dietary restrictions, prefer vegetarian food, or feel stressed by the complex preparation. When that’s the case, don’t invest your time in recipes your family won’t enjoy! Instead, prepare or create new annual family favorites to pass down to your own kids.
Design Your Own Decorations
You may have gotten that wreath from your great-grandmother, but that doesn’t mean it has to be on your front door! This season is about what brings you and your family joy in the present, so consider the decorations your family likes over the ones you think you should put out. Does your family prefer silly tree ornaments over classic ones? Do your kids like designing their own holiday crafts to hang in the windows? See what traditions are begging to get started by working with what you already love.
Revisit Old Traditions
If you’re looking for inspiration for your family traditions, it might be time to look to the past—but not your own past. Outdated yuletide traditions sometimes just need an update for the modern world. Instead of chopping a tree from your yard, get inspired to do a holiday hike where your kids find a tree to decorate (biodegradable paper decorations only, please!). Get the kids involved in sending an email family newsletter, or do virtual caroling during the age of social distancing.
Consider Quiet Contemplation
Building a little extra time for quiet contemplation can be key during a stressful holiday season. For many people, that time comes naturally during visits to church. For others, those visits may not check the box. When that’s the case, find ways to create a tradition that adds quiet time to your day on the big day and beyond. Start your morning with a family meditation, gather around the fire for a quiet cup of hot chocolate, or spend your evenings bundled up outside looking at the stars.
Holiday traditions are one of the ways we create great family memories, and creating our own traditions makes those memories all the more special. Whether your family loves decorating or you have a special Christmas playlist or you have a “slumber party” in front of your favorite holiday films, you’ll find that reinventing your traditions is a great way to bring you all closer together. Don’t forget that this unusual season calls for unusual gifts as well, so check out our blog for ideas.