You Do What? Rethinking Holiday Traditions


There was an article posted this year about how Millennials are "ruthlessly killing...Christmas traditions."

Regardless if you give any credence to this overused ploy to blame Millennials for getting people to click on an article, there is undoubtedly a reason to consider how you want to your growing family to move through life and celebrate holidays (or not) moving forward: You are going to be responsible for enacting many of these traditions! Do you want to?

One could argue that all of the things on this list in no way kill or make Christmas. But that it takes an incredible amount of energy, time, and dedication to complete all the things on that list.

(I'll make a note here there was no mention at all of who the holiday responsibility typically falls on: Moms, Aunties, Grandmas, and generally, the womenfolk. The holidays are prime "tending" time, and perhaps we should take a look at that tradition and make the holidays sustainable in a way that helps, and involves, everyone in the family. )

So, traditional holiday activities are being reevaluated on a larger cultural scale, and making room for the lives and realities of modern families with (possibly) two working parents, and fewer cravings for roasted chestnuts.

Sustainable Traditions

Traditions get carried on either because they are easy and enjoyable outright, or because someone takes on the responsibility of enacting the rituals and ensuring follow through.

  • What is important to you?

  • What is important to your partner?

  • What is important to your family?

  • Do you like making a holiday card?

  • Do you enjoy baking?

  • Do you want to wear matching pajamas?

  • How many stops do you want to make that day?

  • Do you love to host? Do you like to join in wherever the festivities may be?

  • What did you love that you want to introduce to your kids?

  • What did you tolerate because it was important to a family member?

  • What would you love to change if you had the freedom and guilt-free ability to change it?

  • Are you sustaining traditions that should be put to rest?

  • Are there traditions that could be continued but the responsibility be passed to a different person?

  • Could more people be compelled to help create the holiday spirit?

More Sustainable Traditions

When it comes to the holidays, boiling down all the decorations, gifts, songs, parties, and traditions, everything exists as a way to help us feel good. Feeling cared for, nurtured, and a sense of belonging are what we all crave, but it gets defused through photo filters, schedules, and checking items off a list.

How about these sustainable traditions?

  • Listening to what people say, and not just waiting for your turn to talk.

  • Making eye contact with the children in your life and learning about what they are excited about.

  • Finding a gift that is purposeful or meaningful, and not just filler to make it feel like "enough."

  • Realizing that your time is the most valuable thing you have, and showing love is very different than telling love.

What about your family? With the holidays fresh on our minds, what stands out to you? What do you love? What has been passed down that seems to make the season for you?