Traditions are part of what makes the holidays memorable. Thinking back on your childhood, you might have some amazing memories of holidays past that are steeped in tradition. I, for one, often long for the days that my mother would gather the family for delicious holiday dinners, games, laughter and love. There’s no doubt that traditions help families stay connected and remind them of their roots but there may come a time when breaking family holiday traditions and starting new ones is appropriate.
Starting new holiday traditions with your family members is not a negative thing. There are numerous factors that may make family gatherings look a little different than they did in the past. There’s no rulebook when it comes to holiday celebrations. What’s most important is that you’re creating special memories your family can hold in their hearts for eternity.
This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website at no extra cost to you.
Should Traditions Always Be Kept?
Traditions can bring comfort and a sense of familiarity and belonging, but they can also be stifling and keep you from growing and expanding. Holding on to traditions can exclude other possibilities that might be a better fit for you and your family. While traditions can be a wonderful way to hold onto the past, there may be room for change in your future.
Here are some indicators you might be ready to break some traditions this holiday season-
Your Family Dynamics Change
It might have been fun to participate in a tradition for a season, but a change could be in order. If your family dynamics change and it doesn’t make sense to hold onto a tradition, be open to letting it go, creating a new one or making a modification. Some typical reasons family dynamics change:
* Marriage, divorce, blending families
* Children mature or grow up
* Time constraints or changes in schedules
* Death in the family
When the dynamics in the family change, it may be time to break a tradition and begin something new.
You’re Bored or Change Interests
Some traditions felt great for a time, but everyone is always changing and growing. Adapting and expanding your interests can affect your traditions. What once felt comforting begins to feel controlling. Don’t let familiarity cause you to hold onto traditions that you’ve outgrown.
Your Financial Situation Changes
Economic circumstances can change, and sometimes the financial burden of maintaining certain traditions becomes too heavy. Prioritizing financial stability may mean cutting back on elaborate holiday plans.
Your Health (or a Family Member’s Health) Changes
If you or a family member is dealing with health issues, physical or mental, it might be necessary to modify traditions to ensure everyone’s well-being. This could involve simplifying activities or choosing alternatives that are more accommodating.
You’ve Moved to a Different Geographical Location
As families spread out and members live in different locations, it may become difficult to gather for traditional celebrations. In such cases, finding new ways to connect virtually or establishing new traditions that can be observed from afar might be necessary.
The Whole Family Comes to a Consensus
It’s crucial to consider the opinions and feelings of all family members. If there is a consensus that a particular family tradition is causing stress or is no longer enjoyable, it may be time to discuss alternatives or make changes collectively.
Creating New Traditions Can Create Joy
Finding new ways to create traditions during the holidays can reduce stress and create joy. Growing and expanding with your family as it changes can help you hold onto traditions you love while finding new ones that have meaning for where you are in life at the moment. Ask yourself these questions to help you create new traditions.
What makes sense for your stage of life? If your children are small, there may be a host of activities that you engage in as part of your tradition. As they age, it makes sense to stop some activities and find new age-appropriate activities. Asking what makes sense for your current stage of life will help you break traditions you don’t need and create ones that everyone will enjoy.
What do you love most this time of year? Asking yourself…and your family, what they love most and want to do each year will help you engage in the activities that matter. You never know, that one time you had pizza for Thanksgiving dinner could be a tradition they want to experience each and every year. You never know if you don’t ask!
Sometimes traditions can actually weigh families down and cause stress. It’s important to take time and review your beloved traditions and see if there isn’t room for improvement, retirement, or creating new traditions all together.
How Can I Create My Own Family Traditions and Keep the Peace?
Creating new family traditions can be scary, but it can also be a wonderful way to foster togetherness and shared experiences. Here are some tips to help you introduce new traditions while keeping the peace within the family:
- Communicate Openly:
- Start by having an open and honest conversation with your family members. Discuss the idea of creating new traditions, and encourage everyone to share their thoughts and suggestions. It’s essential to listen to each other’s perspectives and find common ground.
- Involve Everyone:
- Make sure that all family members have a say in the decision-making process. When everyone feels included, they are more likely to embrace and enjoy the new traditions. Consider brainstorming sessions where everyone contributes ideas.
- Build on Shared Interests:
- Identify common interests and passions within the family. Creating traditions around shared activities or hobbies ensures that everyone is engaged and excited to participate.
- Start Small:
- Introduce new traditions gradually and start with smaller, manageable activities. This reduces the pressure and allows everyone to adjust to the changes without feeling overwhelmed.
- Blend Old and New:
- Incorporate elements of existing traditions into the new ones. This helps bridge the gap between the familiar and the unfamiliar, making the transition smoother for everyone.
- Be Flexible:
- Be open to adapting and tweaking new traditions as needed. Flexibility is crucial, especially in the early stages, as you may discover what works best for your family through trial and error.
- Respect Different Perspectives:
- Understand that not everyone may be immediately on board with the idea of changing or adding traditions. Respect differing opinions and take the time to address any concerns or reservations.
- Establish Consistency:
- Consistency helps solidify a tradition over time. Try to maintain a regular schedule or specific elements that everyone can look forward to, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.
- Celebrate Diversity:
- If your family is culturally diverse, consider incorporating elements from various backgrounds into your new traditions. This not only adds richness but also promotes inclusivity.
- Document and Reflect:
- Encourage the family to document the new traditions through photos, videos, or a journal. Reflecting on these shared experiences can help strengthen the bond and create lasting memories.
- Be Patient:
- Change takes time, and not every new tradition will immediately become a beloved ritual. Be patient, give it time to develop, and allow everyone to adjust at their own pace.
Remember, the key is to create an environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and part of the process. By approaching the creation of new family traditions with sensitivity and inclusivity, you can enhance the family bond and make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.
What are Some Examples of New Holiday Traditions?
Here are some ideas for starting your own holiday traditions:
- Start a new tradition of hosting a cozy Christmas Eve movie night in the living room, complete with hot chocolate and holiday cookies.
- Begin Christmas Day with a special morning scavenger hunt for the little ones to find their presents hidden around the living room.
- Organize a virtual Christmas tree decorating session with extended family members, sharing stories and laughter over video calls.
- Consider a new tradition of planting a live tree in your own yard each Christmas season, creating a “family tree” that grows with each passing year.
- Establish a tradition of volunteering together at a local soup kitchen on Christmas Day, giving back to the community as a family.
- Encourage each family member to contribute their own holiday traditions, creating a unique blend that reflects the diverse identity of your family.
- Transform the living room into a holiday haven by creating a “Christmas fort” with blankets and pillows, where the family can share stories and create new memories.
- Start a tradition of writing letters to each family member, expressing gratitude and sharing highlights from the past year.
- Establish a tradition of a special Christmas morning breakfast feast, bringing the family together around the table.
- Document the first year in your new home with a family Christmas card featuring photos of your own holiday traditions and the unique decorations in your living room.
- Craft a “family identity” ornament for the Christmas tree, symbolizing the core values and shared experiences that define your unique family.
- Reflect on the last year’s holiday season with a “memory jar” activity, where each family member writes down their favorite moments and places them in a jar to be read next year.
- Have each family member contribute to a “favorite tradition” scrapbook, creating a visual chronicle of the most cherished moments from each holiday season.
- Combine both sides of the family’s traditions into a festive holiday celebration, honoring the rich tapestry of customs and practices.
- Establish a new tradition of taking a family hike on Christmas morning to enjoy the winter scenery and embrace the beauty of nature.
- Encourage young kids to create their own holiday traditions, fostering a sense of ownership and creativity within the family.
- Capture new memories by initiating a tradition of creating a family time capsule each year, filled with mementos and notes about the highlights of the season.
- Add a creative touch to the Christmas tree by making ornaments that represent each member of the family, turning it into a unique “family tree.”
- Start a new tradition of writing a collaborative Christmas story as a family, with each member contributing a sentence or paragraph to create a unique holiday narrative.
- Turn putting up Christmas lights into a family event, complete with a festive playlist and hot chocolate, transforming the exterior of your home into a winter wonderland.
- Establish a tradition of opening presents one at a time, savoring the excitement and joy that each gift brings, and taking turns to share in the happiness.
- Create personalized holiday cards featuring a collage of family photos from the year, capturing the essence of your unique traditions and experiences.
- Make a tradition of saving and repurposing wrapping paper from year to year, reducing waste and adding a touch of nostalgia to the holiday season.
- Designate a specific day to reminisce about special Christmas traditions from the past, sharing stories and creating a sense of continuity through the years.
- If you have a little family, create a tradition of a “DIY Christmas” day where everyone contributes to making decorations, baking treats, and planning activities.
- Design a family Christmas card that features a snapshot of your little boys engaged in a favorite tradition, capturing the essence of your unique family.
- Blend traditions from your spouse’s family with your own, creating a harmonious celebration that reflects the shared values and experiences of both families.
- Turn sending out Christmas cards into a family activity, with each member contributing a personal touch to create unique and memorable cards.
- Introduce “cycle breakers” into the holiday season by trying out inventive and unconventional ways of celebrating, breaking away from old habits.
- Establish a new family tradition of a “holiday movie night marathon,” complete with blankets and snacks, creating lasting memories for years to come.
- Celebrate the unique bonds within family units by organizing a “family units” ornament exchange, where each unit contributes a special ornament to the tree.
- Commemorate the arrival of the first child by starting a tradition of creating a “first Christmas” scrapbook, capturing the excitement and joy of this special time.
- Acknowledge and express emotions by incorporating a “gratitude circle” into the holiday celebrations, where each family member shares what they are thankful for.
- Bake Christmas cookies together as a family, making it a tradition to try out new recipes and create a variety of delicious treats for everyone to enjoy.
- Communicate the good reason behind new traditions, emphasizing that they are motivated by a desire to strengthen family bonds and create a more meaningful holiday experience.
- Share stories of when each family member was once part of the holiday magic, creating a sense of nostalgia and connection through the retelling of cherished memories.
- Extend the holiday celebration by starting a new tradition of hosting a New Year’s Day brunch, bringing the family together for a delicious meal and reflection on the year ahead.
- Create a tradition of crafting personalized Christmas ornaments together, symbolizing the uniqueness of each family member and adding a personal touch to the tree.
- Make hanging light strings a family affair, turning it into a fun activity with music, laughter, and perhaps a friendly competition for the most creative arrangement.
- Celebrate both sides of the family by starting a tradition of a “family showcase,” where each family member shares a talent, hobby, or story that represents their unique contribution to the family.
- Make hot chocolate preparation a family affair, experimenting with different recipes and toppings to create a unique hot chocolate tradition.