Holidays are a part of every season. Part of what makes holidays so memorable are the traditions we create each year. Some of the traditions are cultural. Some of them are specific to religion, country of origin, or personal family customs.
Thanksgiving in America comes with some stringent traditions. Most of us wouldn’t think of celebrating without turkey and pumpkin pie. Other cultural traditions are semi-optional, like cranberry sauce (yuck) and football.
Here, in Detroit, we have the option of freezing our rear ends off while we watch the parade march down Woodward Avenue (yes, the one in the song). In addition, we torture ourselves by watching our native football team (Detroit Lions: you probably have not heard of them) fail miserably in their annual Thanksgiving Day game.
Traditions are important, but they can also drive us crazy with anxiety and stress. We work so diligently to bring back those memories and feelings of the past. Sometimes we are left empty and depressed because it doesn’t meet our unrealistic expectations.
If you find that your traditions are causing you more grief than joy, then here are a few things you can do this holiday season.
Stop and Reflect
Takes some time to stop and reflect on those traditions and customs that seem to rule your holiday. Why do you do them? Why or how did it begin? Do you find any value in continuing this tradition? What would happen if you didn’t do it?
Consider a Break
Consider taking a year off from that particular tradition. It may be that it doesn’t fit with your current season of life. It doesn’t mean you can’t reinstitute it next year. It simply means you are taking a break.
Consider a New Tradition
Seasons come and go. It may be that you are now the parent/grandparent. And with your role change comes new traditions and customs to pass along. Sometimes we cling so tightly to the past that we forget to experience the present. Be creative. Let go of the past to begin something new.
Take some time this holiday season to be thankful. Your stress may be that you have not stopped to enjoy the traditions you already have now. Learn to be truly present this holiday season and enjoy each tradition God has given to you.
For my family, we are doing something new this year. We are still keeping some of those things unique to our family, but we are reshaping them for a new day. But, yes, there will still be turkey!