We can all breathe a big sigh of relief that the crazy build up to Christmas is now over. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I am often left with the feeling of “what now?” after the Christmas holidays. Every year we get swept up in the stampede to have all our work finished before the break and to have all our preparations in place for the festivities. I wonder if any of us ever stop to question why we do it every year? What exactly is the point of it all?
For many people the answer is family. Its a time to come together, eat, drink and exchange gifts. For a lot of families its about tradition. Traditions are wonderful, they make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. There’s a certain comfort that comes from familiarity and a bonding between the people that share in those traditions.
However traditions can also become lacking in relevance and meaning over time. I think its important to check in with yourself and your family members each year to make sure that everybody really is getting what they need from participating in those traditions. As we all know, its impossible to please everybody. However, making sure everyone involved is able to voice their wants and needs is sometimes enough. When people feel they are being heard, they often suddenly begin to release their need to tightly hold on to what they think they need to happen, in order to be ok.
The problem I sometimes have with traditions is that they can become old and irrelevant. It is healthy to be constantly changing and evolving throughout the course of our lives. This will be reflected in how we come together and celebrate the meaningful events in our lives. The “how” of celebrating Christmas is never as important as the “who” and the “why”. If being with and truly connecting with family is all that matters then you will find a way. If the traditions are becoming stale and are merely a thin disguise for bringing people together each year for some unknown reason, then maybe its time to rethink.
It might be time to create a few new traditions for yourself, and they might be ones you create with people other than your immediate family. Doing this might seem extremely disloyal but you owe it to yourself to choose to spend your time with people who acknowledge and respect your needs,and value you for who you are. Christmas, so the carols say, is supposed to be about peace, joy and love. If your family traditions aren’t living up to that expectation then maybe its time for a change.
If you have some Christmas traditions in your family that you’d like to upgrade I’d love to hear about them in the comments below…