Considering Traditions to Make the Most of Holiday Family Time
Building a holiday strategy shouldn’t be stressful; it can really incorporate a rich assortment of traditions – and perhaps include some that are traditions-to-be.
Avera Certified Family Life Educator Doniese Wilcox encourages planning and maybe more importantly, collaborating with the entire family to make the best decisions.
“Sometimes we all need to stop and consider who a tradition appeals to – is it something we all cherish, or is it more or less for mom?” she said. “One way to make a tradition appealing to everyone is to stop and look at who enjoys it.”
Wilcox said that’s families that decide together often get more out of this magic time of year. “Holiday traditions add security, bring a binding of community, excitement and also build values,” she said. “So it might be time to test the traditions you keep, and see if there’s room for new ones.”
Many families spread their gift-giving over the course of the month of December. The side benefit is a more luxurious length of time in which receivers of gifts can show their appreciation, according to Wilcox.
“Our family has developed a ‘Kids’ Crafts’ event for St. Nicholas Day, which is early in December,” she said. “Families can also consider giving traditions, such as going through old toys and finding ones that can be given away. It is a great way to instill thoughtfulness.”
The trappings of the traditional meal can be customized to make everyone fit in a little better. What’s mom’s favorite food in the Thanksgiving feast and why? Finding and sharing family stories can be just that simple.
“Storytelling is an amazing tool, and it can be more than just a humorous tale or episode. In many cases, it can teach a lesson or have a moral,” she said. “Part of the reason we love the holidays is to have that time with those we love, to talk and listen and be there with them.”
Gratitude is a big part of the traditions of both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and writing in a gratitude journal, or helping younger children make “gratitude videos” using technology to make another possible “new” tradition you might try, Wilcox said.
“Our friends use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth. It comes out for the holidays every year, and everyone is asked to add something to it they are grateful for, and they take Sharpies and draw or write,” Wilcox said. “It’s like watching old home movies or slideshows – it’s just a great way to keep connections vital.”
No matter how you celebrate, you can bring the family closer together with a dash of planning, a bit of tradition and plenty of collaborative creativity.