Make it a healthy habit to forge new traditions of your own.
There’s a lot to be said for honoring traditions, especially during the holidays. But like a reindeer sweater, sometimes we start to outgrow them. I pulled out an old recipe this year for Thanksgiving, for example, and realized, “I really don’t want to eat Velveeta and butter; why am I making this?!” That was the end of that tradition—serving a particular side dish had to go. Other traditions are must-keeps, such as putting up the ornaments on the tree as a family and reminiscing where and when we got each one. And then there is the opportunity to create new traditions. No matter what stage of life you are in, for this week’s Healthy Habit, let’s celebrate the idea of forging new traditions. Here are five ideas for how to swing it.
- Change the scenery. We usually do Christmas with extended family and this year instead spent Hanukkah in the desert with friends. I had no expectations, which is rare. I didn’t know the desert could be so quiet, or that you can hunt for crystals there. Throwing the usual holiday script out the window made it possible to experience the same time of year in an open and joyful spirit.
- Bail. One family I know is dealing with a difficult transition. So, for a recent holiday, they went to an amusement park, instead of trying to pretend things were okay and forcing everyone around a table. They had such a great time, with very short lines, that this may even become a new, beloved tradition.
- Stop Hosting. For perpetual hosts and entertainers, this can be hard, but you don’t need to play caterer every year. For example, if you usually do a New Year’s brunch and are tired of hosting, maybe you can meet up with those same friends for snowshoeing and hot cocoa instead.
- Start Hosting. Conversely, being responsible for a major occasion can feel extremely liberating, especially if you have never pulled it off before. Maybe there’s an older family member looking to pass the torch?
- Adopt. If you admire a tradition, give it a go! Just because one didn’t grow up Swedish, doesn’t mean one can’t start making a kettle of Glögg each year. We roll fresh oranges through the open door of our home on Chinese New Year. Some families have Taco Tuesdays. Traditions are part of what make life feel like a celebration, so add, subtract and edit yours in ways that feel meaningful and encouraging.