How You Can Develop And Take Charge Of Your Own Family’s Holiday Traditions
Ever family has their own way of celebrating the holidays. Just as everyone has their own Holiday Traditions. Part of the fun of starting your own little tribe, is the freedom and ability, to merry-make in your own way. But for some, this can be a difficult, and stressful, task to accomplish.
The Holiday’s are about family…
Now, I’m not saying you have to abandon the way that you’ve always done things – but part of starting a family is developing your own traditions. Typically, you take a few things from your own upbringing, blended with your partner’s experiences, and a new tradition is born.
But sometimes, given circumstances, overbearing in-laws, and expectations, it can be hard to break away from what you’ve normally done, in order to start something new.
This year, we are starting new holiday traditions for Christmas…
To give you some insight on why I found this topic to be of interest, here’s what’s been going on in the Hewitt household. We have spent every Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, with my in-laws. Traveling with a baby took some courage and planning, but in the past few celebrations, it’s always been enjoyable! And I honestly loved the opportunity to avoid cooking a big dinner. But, as our son is getting older, and closer to a better understanding of the holiday season, we want to change things up.
We just bought a new house this past fall, and my husband is ecstatic to have the opportunity to really “play Santa.” We are going to start teaching our son that Santa will be coming down our new fireplace (and requires Milk and Cookies to be left out, although I’m sure he’d settle for a beer occasionally). We can wake up bright and early and open presents in the morning – at home – then travel to either set of grandparents that have dibs for the year. Dad can be aggravated with assembling toys that are too big for the chimney during the night, while I can slave over the logistics of cooking a turkey for the other grandparents that are coming for dinner later in the evening.
This was the family holiday tradition we talked about creating, and enjoying, all year. Something to make our own – finally staying home for the semi-important part of the Christmas holiday. So our son can experience the joy of waking up in his own bed on Christmas, and rushing to his own tree to see what presents Santa has brought.
Change brings opposition….
The kind of resistance we have been met with, probably pales in comparison to what other families deal with. Which is totally understandable – when you’ve always done something a certain way, it’s expected. Change can lead to total chaos.
And it has been a nice holiday tradition for the last 3 years – so of course some family members didn’t want us to break that. But it hasn’t really been fair to other family members (who always wait until after the fact to celebrate with us) and now, it certainly isn’t fair to us. We haven’t spent any time at home for the holidays, and now we have a new home we’d love to be in. So in order to finally start our own traditions, something’s had to give.
So, just in case you find yourself in a similar predicament, here’s a few tips to help you ultimately decide what’s best for your family, and your holiday traditions.
- Decide What You Want – figure out exactly what it is you haven’t, or have been doing, that you want to either start, or continue. For us, it was the ability to celebrate in our own home (for at least the beginning of the Holiday). This varies from person to person, but it’s important to get a goal in mind.
- Weigh Your Options – this will also vary, but it’s an important step towards your goal. If like us, you want to start a tradition of being at home for part of the holiday celebration, decide how you may want to split time between relatives (or have them travel to your house, which has been our decision this year.). If it’s becoming an issue of which grandparent or other relative needs a visit, try alternating beginning with who didn’t get a (first) visit last year, so it’s fair.
- Pick Your Battles – remember, if it’s important enough that the situation has bothered you in some way, it’s worth addressing. But you still need to decide if it’s worth the fight. I decided that my husband finally playing the Santa he’s wanted to, and watching his son open his presents under his new tree, in his new house, was worth the battle. And most everyone has been very agreeable! But with getting what you want, you should always be…
- Willing To Compromise – which for us, has meant not traveling at all this year, and hosting Christmas here at our new house! For all members of our immediate family. With me not knowing how to cook a big Christmas Dinner. Well, I did want to create my own Holiday Traditions..one of those might be burning a turkey… But if you do meet opposition, remember to…
- Stand Your Ground On The Important Factors – ok, so I know I just said be willing to compromise, but there’s a line. And when it comes to something you feel that is super important, and in your family’s best interest, you don’t have to give up on it. We decided instead of one side of or family being annoyed we did, or didn’t, travel to the other’s for Christmas, and our main goal being to start staying home for present opening and Christmas Eve excitement, our compromise; everyone come to our house. But we stayed the course on our goal with this – no traveling overnight. Should anyone not want to visit with us at our home, that would b e their decision. But we stayed true to lour feelings and intentions, and t’s working out for the best.
But I’ve still never cooked a Christmas Dinner. I may need to reconsider this…
But remember what Holiday’s are really about…
It’s about family! But you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress and hassle, of doing things that are totally inconvenient, unfair, or just plain disheartening.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the holidays your own way. And that’s part of the fun of starting a family of your own! As your family grows and changes, so will your Holiday Traditions.