Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website: www.lovewriteon.com.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “holiday traditions”? The answer of course will vary according to your personal experience.
Maybe you have recently started a family or perhaps want to create your own seasonal rituals or routines — and of course precious memories. The good news is there are no hard or fast rules when it comes to creating your own.
Traditions can be as personal, or community based as you’d like. For instance, after the first snowfall, you might make a cup of peppermint hot chocolate or watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Can you say cozy?
Whatever your preference, traditions have the power to make you feel like a kid again. Think how much fun you had decorating a gingerbread house or making cookies with Grandma. Bringing little or big traditions into your life can infuse your holiday season with a sense of purpose and fun.
Creating your own traditions
Most people who embrace traditions will tell you that the memories and feelings created hold so much more value than the actual act of the event. Sometimes you can stumble into your own acts or actively forge your own path. Traditions develop over time. That means you might not even realize these go-to activities are traditions until you look back. That said, here are some things to consider before getting started:
Expand on routines
It could be something so common as picking your own Christmas tree from a farm that could turn into a full day of bonding and memory-making. For instance, maybe after finding “the one,” you start a fire in your fireplace and drink hot chocolate. Expanding the little things you already do and love can be a great starting point to take things to the next level.
Life gets busy and before we know it, it’s already the next holiday season. In order to cement traditions, you might set reminders on your phone, so everyone is reminded without feeling nagged.
Divide and conquer (the planning)
The holidays are also notoriously hectic, which means adding another thing to your list can be fraught with anxiety. The antidote? Lean on your tribe for help with some of your traditions.
When you add accountability into the mix, more people are invested in the outcome. For more involved or elaborate traditions, try creating a list of what needs to get done and let each person select what they’d like to take on. Many hands lighten the load, as they say.
Don’t overthink this. Having an agenda can be as simple as everyone having a good time. But at the same time, give yourself a moment to think about what — on a deeper level — you want to take away from this tradition. Warm and fuzzy memories for your kids? Reuniting long-distance friends who seldom see each other? A photo-op to put on a holiday card? Whatever speaks to you, make sure to take at least a few minutes to reflect on your goals.
Give yourself grace
You don’t have to be married to traditions. If it becomes stale or doesn’t seem to fit into your life anymore, it’s okay to abandon it. Not all traditions are meant to be long-term commitments. As your family grows and citations change, it’s perfectly fine to reevaluate and regroup.
From our family to yours, have a very happy holiday season full of your favorite traditions, new and old!