Holidays this year are likely to look and feel different with spikes in COVID looming. If the thought of not being with family for Thanksgiving sends your emotions into a tailspin, and opening presents on a Zoom call seems ridiculous, you’re probably not the only one who’s feeling this way. But look at the bright side: you don’t have to listen to your nephew play the violin, nor will you get trapped by your aunt in a one-way conversation of “when I was your age . . .” stories. Good news, right?
Confession: I am not a person with a lot of traditions — maybe because I never had children, and maybe because I push back against the words “always” and “never.” Regardless, I love learning about traditions established by others, and have been known to have lengthy conversations with friends about green bean casserole and opening presents on Christmas Eve versus Christmas Day. I like to ask about various preferences as well. Apple pie or pecan pie or pumpkin pie (or all three)? And for some reason, I need to know whether your holiday movie rituals include “Elf,” “Home Alone,” “Love Actually,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.”
I’m a big proponent of establishing new traditions, especially when families are celebrating for the first time after the loss of a loved one. For several years after my husband died, I had a very difficult time even thinking about displaying my snowman collection at the beginning of each December. Gradually, a few of my favorites have come in from the garage for a couple of weeks, and I’m okay with that because it’s become my new little tradition.
Over the years that I’ve been a volunteer at Adam’s Place, I’ve talked with the adults in my group about holiday traditions, listening to what they used to do, and brainstorming about what new traditions they might establish. I like to suggest that their kids be allowed to choose a new tradition to try out. You never know what might find its way into a family’s heart.
My point is that although holiday traditions are wonderful, calming, predictable, and warm, in many situations we outgrow them. Families change. Kids grow up, move out, get married and have kids of their own. People divorce and remarry, and families become blended. And sometimes we lose a loved one forever. If your family has evolved in any way, maybe it’s time to replace something you don’t particularly love but you’ve always done with something you choose to try for now. You just might discover a new tradition that you’ll repeat next year, and the year after that.
As I mentioned, I don’t really have many traditions of my own. However, there is one exception. It’s kind of embarrassing, but if you comment on this blog, I’ll tell you what it is. Bonus points if you guess correctly.
I think the best tradition of all is to be nice, grateful, patient, and look for the joy. That’s what I’ll be doing.
I’d like to know your embarrassing tradition.
And I agree with you regarding establishing new ones, regardless of Zoom. Being careful and sensible about COVID transmission should be uppermost in planning.
I just texted you with my embarrassing holiday tradition. And like it or not, I think we all need to be extra-cautious this year.
I found this very powerful and if course I will share! And, yes, I’d like to know your tradition!
Thank you, Denise. I will share my embarrassing tradition with you by direct message.
Another great article. It certainly should be an interesting holiday season!
I agree, Darilyn. Stay safe!
Insightful. Love reading your posts.
Another thought-provoking article, Nancy. I realize that I love my own traditions because I keep them for myself, and not at someone else’s request or demand. I find them fun and love keeping the stories alive, like my NOEL figurines. Would love to know your one tradition!
Georganne, thinking about your NOEL figurines makes me smile. I will tell you my tradition, but in a text. It’s too embarrassing to share here.
this read has been an inspiration for me to do something new
so I have discussed with Terry that whenever the pandemic allows I plan to contact the VA in our city and see if I can do some meaningful volunteer work for those who have served
Larry, that’s wonderful! Please keep me posted!
You have wonderful insight to share with us, thank you! Traditions are what you want them to be and with who you’d like to share them with. This year is one for some new traditions or old ones in a new way! Love to hear yours.
Thank you Merri! I completely agree with your definition of traditions. As for mine, I’ll have to private message you. It’s too embarrassing to make public!
I think we need to realize that life does change , especially after the year we’ve all had. So however traditions have changed it’s important to embrace new ones and above all be flexible.
I think you nailed it, Amy. Flexibility is key.
Love this article, Nance.. With our new grandson, trying to pass some of the traditions along, like… almost every year Charlie’s mom gave Jonathan a holiday bear and this year, I ordered one (shhshh, don’t tell J&J yet) for our Ryder. And though couples may be of different faiths, like ours and our kids, we find the comfort in continuing our traditions and are open to creating new ones as our family grows.
I love that you keep some traditions going while, at the same time, establishing new ones as your family grows!
I learned this hard lesson many years ago when I had grand babies. My traditions were not embraced in my daughters’ home, so I had to adjust. Would love to know your tradition.
I am sorry that this was a tough lesson for you, Celeste, and I’m impressed that you were able to adjust. I will reveal my tradition to you privately (because it’s really embarrassing). Are you on Facebook? Please send me a friend request and I’ll private message you with the answer.