Today is a travel day for me. Many hours will be spent in a plane, shuttle, or taxi as I make my way back home for the holiday season. When I get home, I will find a house with a beautifully decorated tree that is trimmed to the brim, 14 dozen cookies will be already made, and the tree will be surrounded with an abundance of gifts with sparkling ribbons and bows. As our family has grown and changed we no longer travel for the holidays. Instead our family travels to my parent’s house. Being that we both arrive a few days before Christmas, many of the traditions we once did as a child, are already done earlier. As we have grown we have learned that our traditions have had to grow with us. For our family we find that some traditions will stay while others will continue to evolve through the years.
Enjoy the grown-up traditions.
While there’s no jolly man in a red suit around our house and we won’t find ourselves waiting in line at the mall for pictures with him (at least for a few more years), we have grown to love our traditions as grown-ups. For our family, this typically means going to a favorite local restaurant and dining on the best of fare, while wearing our holiday best. Our family only gets about a week together a year, so this grown-up tradition has become one that we cherish. That and a tapas restaurant with rounds of small plates and sangria? What could be more festive?
When our family was a little bit smaller, we would forgo the holiday movie and instead pair our dinner with a night at the Nutcracker Ballet or at the symphony. This was a special treat and one we all loved. This year we have a little one joining us, so we’ll just head to our local restaurant. This year with six of us, and the youngest one walking.
As you’re thinking through what grown-up traditions you’d like to develop ask yourself the following questions:
- Could this be included as a part of someone’s Christmas gift?
- Are there any memories I would like to build with family or friends this holiday season?
- What are some of my favorite holiday traditions as a child? How can I adapt this tradition to my life now?
Plan some traditions to do before you get there.
Every year, I always let my mom know some of the things I would like to do upon arrival at my destination. We pick and choose the traditions we would like to do together. This year our traditions consist of making sugar cookies and caramel corn (recipes coming next week), going to church, and eating at a few of my favorite local spots.
Embrace your quirky side.
Sometimes as we get older, some of the traditions in our childhood are a little bit ridiculous. However, learn what are some traditions that you still really long to hold onto, regardless of how silly they may seem. In our family, this typically comes with the way we label our gifts. While some families sign a name or place a riddle on the gift, our family provides nicknames of the person. These fun and silly memories are something I cherish every year as my parents pass out gifts on Christmas day. Have a Christmas onesie? Wear it! Do you still cry at Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies every year? Keep on watching them! Does your family still wear matching pajamas? Embrace it!
What are some of the traditions you do as a family? What are ones you have adapted from your childhood? What are some of the new traditions you have made?