Holiday Traditions Colliding with Life?



Do you get lost in a blur of expectations? Life does not stop for the Kodak moments of the past to catch up with the present.

One of the stressful aspects of holidays is when traditions collide with life circumstances. Add to that the expectations exalted by the media for a ho-ho-holiday and you have the recipe for stress and the ho-hum-holiday blues.

If your life looks anything like mine, you find the picture shifts – not so predictably – from one year to the next. All sorts of transitions can occur in a year’s time. Re-locations. Job changes. Children leaving home. Children moving back in. (Yipes!) Aging parents. You name it. Life does not stop for the Kodak moments of the past to catch up with the present.

With all that in mind, I want to share a little secret that has maneuvered me through many holidays with low to no stress.

Ritual-making. The kind of ritual-making that supports tradition but does not need tradition for its power. Add a dash of creativity to the mix and you will uncover alternatives that answer to who you are and where you are.

What do I mean?

A creative ritual is chosen and executed with mindful intention. And a creative ritual allows you to be the greater part of the equation, empowering your life and relationships in the best of ways.

Need an example?

Here’s a personal favorite: In particularly hectic years, Ray and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts with each other. We go on a special artist’s date instead. After the seasonal dust settles, we plot our course based on what spikes our creative juices in that year. We start with a brunch, browse and meander from destination point to point gathering our treasures, and usually round out the date with music, art, books and a stout cup of French Roast somewhere. Our day is complete with breakfast at IHOP in the wee hours of the morning. This ritual focuses us and sets the tone for how we wish to see ourselves in the coming year.

Have some great rituals that empower you and keep down the stress? Share them!

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8 thoughts on “Holiday Traditions Colliding with Life?

  • December 18, 2008 at 9:57 am

    These are great ideas! Too bad I thought about this late in the year, but next year I’m planning on starting a tradition of my own. I plan on having a Christmas dessert and toy drive or something similar and inviting folks who don’t have anywhere to go on Christmas day. This way we can all get together and share in a celebration of sorts.

  • December 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Pulled this out of the archives. A tried and true (and has not yet disappointed us) ritual! 🙂

  • December 24, 2010 at 9:50 am

    What a beautiful explanation of positive ritual. My Christmas ritual is ripping thru the wrapping paper to see all my gifts! That can take awhile, because first I have to wrap them! And I think my new ritual will be to visit your blog often and follow you and your friends input! Now that would be more a resolution wouldn’t it?

    • December 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

      You NEVER fail to make me smile, J.m.!!! 🙂 I can just see you in the midst of your ritual! Get wrapping!! Only a few more to go and it’s almost Christmas eve. As for you visiting our blog more often? You just gave me something to look forward to in the new year … and you MAY have inspired ME to “visit” it more often. :O

  • December 25, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Funny to see the comment I posted here – how what I was planning back in ’08 never happened in ’09 because of an unexpected overseas trip and then never happened in ’10 because OTHER rituals took their place! Had to laugh about how the universe has its own plan in helping me create rituals rather than the other way around!

    • December 29, 2010 at 10:15 am

      I was thinking something very similar when I pulled this out and saw what you had written, Juliette! Amazing, huh? What a ‘ride’ you have been on. Got to love it, though! 🙂

  • June 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I think an important part of holidays is just to “be” with each other. It does not matter if his mother wants it at her house or her mother wants it at the eldest daughter’s house. And when you are married – you should start your own traditions. I’m a mother-in-law and have had to give up a lot. But that is what is supposed to happen! Your children get married and then they should start their own traditions – in their own house, for their own children. Let the daughter-in-law cook the turkey. She’ll do fine. 🙂

    • June 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      ” … an important part of holidays is just to “be” with each other.” Amen to that, Karen! No matter what the holiday.

      As we head into another hot, hot summer, though, I find I’m more in the mood for a COLD turkey sandwich with a little pepper, mayo and lettuce … tomato on the side. 🙂

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