Starting Your Own Unique Family Holiday Traditions
The practice of starting new holiday traditions usually begins when you are an adult out on your own for the first time. At this point you exist as a family of one (as well as still part of the family with your parents and siblings, but on a different level now). During this time you may realize that some of the ways your family celebrated the holidays may not necessarily be how you want to. This is your time to figure out what traditions you’d like to keep, what new traditions you’d like to start, and where you’re impartial and willing to go with the flow.
Becoming a family of two makes for an interesting first Christmas together, deciding whether to do things your way, his way, your family’s way, or his family’s way. The solution? Compromising together to create a whole new plan that mixes what is most important to you both. It is a rough task, but completely necessary to developing into your own family apart from either set of parents. As a couple you have to work it out between the two of you and decide how the rest of the relatives fit into your plans as a new family.
And then the family grows into three or more. Being flexible enough to start unique family holiday traditions is especially important if you have children. When it comes to kids, nothing goes as planned. Finding something that makes them happy, and makes you happy too, is of the utmost importance. This could mean anything, since every child is different and one family’s needs differ from another. Growing up, my family had some traditions that worked for us. We didn’t have a fire place, so we hung our stockings from the deer antlers that adorned the wall. Our Christmas wish lists to Santa were limited to 1 to 3 presents with the combined cost not to exceed $100 (we learned to budget very young — as an adult I’m grateful my parents set up Christmas this way). We would each open one present on Christmas Eve to ease the anticipation, followed by opening all of the presents on Christmas morning. We children were not allowed into the living room until 7 a.m. — no earlier. As you can see, while to us these were family traditions, they also functioned as useful rules to keep the holidays running smoothly.
There are some traditions that are serendipitous. One year, a photo was snapped of me wearing a new sweater, and my Mom managed to catch the deer antlers right behind my head! There have been a few staged photos copying this event with various family members since then (and a few more accidental ones, too). It’s good fun.
Holidays are whatever you make of them. There is no “perfect” way to do Christmas. If you like a tradition, do it. If you don’t like a tradition, do something else. Let go of the notion of perfection and focus on loving your family and having fun. You’ll see that by shifting your focus, the memories you make will be perfectly wonderful. Isn’t that more important?