Holidays and Traditions
"We would each be wise to reevaluate the cultural, family and personal traditions that have become part of our holiday celebration." - Joshua Becker
Regardless of religion, race, or cultural affiliation, most of us do celebrate one or more holidays as the year draws to a close. The traditions that we form as friends, family or individuals help us celebrate and honor the events of our lives. As we age and our families change, we tend to add new traditions, and eventually wind up burdening ourselves with unrealistic expectations. We need to keep in mind the traditions shoud support the holiday, they should not become an obligation that takes away from the underlying reason you are celebrating. Rachel Jonat, The Minimalist Mom, worded it well when she said, "We don't have to continue holiday traditions that leave us broke, overwhelmed and tired."
My ongoing journey in minimalism and several personal changes in the past year have led me to pause this year and evaluate the things I choose to include in my celebrations this holiday season. In an effort to keep this Christmas a season of giving, peace and love I will be releasing some traditions that weigh me down, focus more on the ones that truly enhance my holidays, and possibly add events that may become future traditions if they prove to add value to the experience.
Traditions I am letting go of (at least for this year):
1. Spending hours driving from store to store to find countless gifts. This year I have greatly reduced the number of gifts I am exchanging. The gifts I will be giving were already purchased in a leisurely manner or ordered online and will be soon arriving at my front door.
2. My family and I have decided to limit the number of decorations in and outside of our home. Instead of taking an entire day and very short tempers to assemble and decorate our large artificial tree, and another day spent just hanging outdoor lights, we picked a few of our favorite decorations and have displayed them throughout our home.
3. My husband and I have for the past several years traveled to an area theme park to enjoy the holiday decorations and events. This year he will be going with his children and I will be staying home. This has given me this lovely Friday evening to write and complete other holiday preparations that I am usually scrambling to finish between work and parties.
4. No holiday sweets. For the past 2 years I have greatly reduced my intake of flour and sugar and been able to maintain this commitment. This holiday my goal is to completely avoid the sugary temptations and maintain my healthier diet throughout the month.
Traditions I am keeping:
1. Sending physical Christmas cards. There is something very nostalgic and lovely about sending handwritten wishes out to dear friends each year. I know holiday cards seem to be going by the wayside, but this is one tradition I play to continue for the unforeseen future.
2. Charitable contribution. I am in the unique situation of teaching yoga classes where the clients pay me directly. Last year I decided that, for any class in December, the students could choose to bring a contribution to "Toys for Tots" in lieu of cash payment for class. This was very successful and well received, so I am happy to continue this plan for 2017. I will maintain the other donations that my family and I usually participate in as well.
3. Attending church service on Christmas Eve. When even your teenage children express desire of where they would like to go to church on Christmas Eve, you know that is a tradition that truly adds value.
4. Seven Fishes Dinner on Christmas Eve. I did not grow up Italian and had never heard of this celebration prior to meeting my husband. Now it is an integral part of Christmas for our family.
This list while not exhaustive, gives a pretty good representation of what this holiday season will look like for my family. I will update on anything new we choose to add later in the month. In the meantime, I would love to hear about the traditions that add great value to you and your family this year.