The holidays are here, and this is the time you celebrate time honored traditions with your extended family. Everyone congregates at a designated location, and you’re surrounded by grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins. You all bring a dish and eat together or you have that one relative who’s in charge of all the food. You laugh, play games, and reminisce about holidays past. It’s a great time to celebrate with those you love.
But what happens when your personal life changes and you (dare I say it) want to start your own traditions?
Change happens. It’s expected. And some changes are life altering:
- You and your husband have a child. For the first few years you continue to participate in the family traditions, but then you both decide you want to create your own family traditions and do something new this year.
- You’ve been a single mom for years, and now you’re dating this amazing guy that also has kids. You get engaged, married, and the next thing you know you have this new blended family. This is your first holiday together as husband and wife, and you want to make sure the kids all feel connected as a family. So you decide that this is the year for a change in tradition.
- Your spouse just got assigned a job out of state and away from family, and this will be your first holiday in a new place. You two sit down and decide that instead of traveling you will start your own holiday memories in your new surroundings.
- You have a child with special needs and the holidays have always been rough, but you grin and deal with it every single year to keep the peace. But this year you’re tired and you just want your child to enjoy the holiday season in his comfort zone, even if it means making a few people upset.
How do you explain to your family that you will not be a part of the holiday festivities??
Holidays are sacred. You don’t mess with tradition. It worked for this long so why go and change right?
Release the guilt. Having a new family or a new environment requires compromise. Some people will understand and respect your decision, and some will not. Somebody will try to guilt you into doing things the way THEY want you to do them. Traditions are hard to break; I get it. There’s so much worry and anxiety when trying to make everyone involved happy, but that’s impossible. You don’t want to be labeled inflexible, inconsiderate, or the all too popular “funny acting” just because you got a new man or baby.
But this is your life and you get to make the executive decisions now. The choice is yours. Do you have that mom that always make you feel guilty when you try to do something out of the norm? Is your dad the type that doesn’t like change and refuses to accept that things won’t go his way all the time? Do you think Nana will give you that, “I won’t be here much longer” speech to get what she wants? Maybe. But you have this one life and if you want to start something new and different, then go for it! And a lot of times the worry and anxiety is something we create ourselves for no reason at all.
Have a conversation with your loved ones and let them know your plans. They may surprise you. Throw in some additional family time, especially if there’s a new baby involved, throughout the year. If you’re out of town, set up your family with video chat. Since my mom is in Florida we FaceTime Christmas morning, so she can see her grandkids open their gifts. Not too long ago, we started getting together on Christmas Eve with my dad in order to still spend time together but respect the fact that we all have other things we like to do on Christmas Day.
Happy Holidays! Hopefully 🙂