The holiday season is upon us. Are your family get-togethers full of meaningful traditions? Or, are they full of conflict? Perhaps they are just dull and boring. Whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year's or another winter event, the holiday season is supposed to be a special time - a time to connect with family and enjoy each other's company. Family traditions can help make the holiday season meaningful and fun. Practicing family traditions strengthens the bond among family members. Creating new traditions helps blended families feel more connected to each other.
If your holiday celebrations leave a lot to be desired or if your family conflict is interfering with the festivities, it's time to make some changes. You can begin some new traditions that will bring the joy and meaning back to holidays.
Here are 12 ideas for new holiday traditions to make the holidays more meaningful.
1. Memory Jar -Have everyone in the family write down 1-3 of their favorite family memories. You might want to start this several weeks/days ahead of the big family get together so that people have time to spend with this. Have people put their memories in a jar or big bowl. When you are all together, each person takes a turn picking a piece of paper and reading the memory out loud. For newly blended families, each person can write down what the holidays mean to them. This will help you get to know each other so that you can build new traditions that are meaningful for everyone. Another variation of this is to have everyone bring a favorite childhood holiday photo and share their memories associated with the photo.
2. Candle ceremony - If you are unable to spend time with your loved ones during the holidays, this tradition will help you bridge the distance. You will need to pick a specific day and time that is convenient for everyone to participate. At the specified time, each person will light a candle and spend a few minutes thinking about the family - especially those who are absent. You might say a prayer for each family member or imagine sending love and peace to each person. Remember that thoughts, intentions, and prayers are not bound by distance. This means that you can make meaningful connections with each other even at great distances.
3. Wish list - This is a twist on the standard wish list that many kids create so their parents know what to buy them. This new tradition involves everyone creating a list of changes that would make the world a better place. Combine all of the lists together to create a master list. Then have each person in the family vote on their favorite 3 from the list. Spend some time during the holiday season taking positive actions that will help bring about the changes you want to see in the world. For example, if saving the environment is on your list, your family may decide to use a live Christmas tree that can be planted after the holiday is over.
4. Give - The holiday season is about giving. Create a tradition that involves giving to those in need. Your family could donate gifts to a local women's shelter or volunteer your time to serve food at a homeless shelter. Have young children go through their toys and pick one or two toys to donate to a local shelter. This will help children participate in the joy of giving. There are a lot of ways that you and your family can help others. You might decide to give in the same way each year or come up with something new each year.
5. Play - Make some fun traditions that will bring joy and laughter to your family gatherings. Set aside time to play games. Or create a playful tradition of giving an award to the person who wears the funniest hat to the party. My family has a tradition of taking photos during the holidays and then editing them to make silly faces or put someone else's hair on each person. We all look forward to this activity and the laughter that ensues.Continue reading more holiday tradition ideas by Kirsten Harrell on Intent.com
About Kirsten Harrell
Kirsten Harrell, Psy.D. is a soul psychologist, inspirational speaker, and entrepreneur. Dr. Harrell has combined her expertise in positive psychology, stress-management, hypnosis, spirituality, and energy psychology, to provide cutting edge services to individuals and businesses for over 15 years. Dr. Harrell is co-creator of a series of audio products - ipopin one-minute affirmations - that deliver positive affirmations to busy people in a fun and convenient way. Dr. Harrell specializes in helping people with chronic pain and illness go from surviving to thriving.
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