5 Ways to Create Meaningful Holiday Traditions

5 Ways to Create Meaningful Holiday Traditions


Turn a season of hustle and bustle into one of peace and intent.

I once heard that kids spell love T-I-M-E. I often think of that with my own kids, but I think it’s also true for adults. What adult wouldn’t want a little more time off for the holidays? A little more time to spend relaxing by the fire. A little more time with a loved one who is no longer with us. This holiday season focus on meaningful traditions, whether that translates to time spent in peaceful solitude and reflection as you head into the new year, or time spent with friends and family. For this week’s Healthy Habit, here are five ways to create meaningful new holiday traditions.

1. Edit, Edit, Edit

Take a hard look at any traditions that have, over the years, become stressful, chaotic, or expensive. Are there ways of doing things differently? For example, serve a turkey breast instead of a whole roasted turkey. Interview your aunt instead of worrying about finding her the exact perfect gift.

2. Go Somewhere New

The joy of the holidays can get lost when we’re going through the same-old motions as last year—it can pay to see the season from a fresh perspective. So, see how it feels to celebrate from a rented Airbnb in the desert. Or head for an indoor water park. Take in a Broadway show. Or simply load everyone in the car for a trip to a used book store for a browse-fest.

3. Show Compassion

Drop off supplies at a pet shelter or contact services for the homeless or abused women in your community to ask how you can help—perhaps providing toiletries, treats, puzzles, or warm layers to residents.

4. Explore

If you have a little time off of work during the holidays, or are traveling to a different city, it’s a great opportunity to try something new. If you usually do yoga, try qigong class. Pop into a cathedral to listen to some Gregorian chant, or check out that museum of African American art.

5. Celebrate … After

There is nothing wrong with punting the celebrating to a less busy time than December. I’m a big fan of spending time with friends for Twelfth Night (the 5th or 6th of January). Like many things in life, figgy pudding improves with age.

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