Health, Purpose, Relationships

Why We Stick To Holiday Traditions (and the effect it can have on us)

why we stick to holiday traditions

Anyone else find the holidays repetitive every year? It’s not exactly a bad thing. Tradition can be a good thing. It can be personable and a sweet way of connecting to our family.  What I struggle with is- when tradition doesn’t move family or friends forward. I wonder sometimes, why are we doing this? Why do we hold to our traditions during the holidays?

unrealistic expectations

Holiday traditions can bring unrealistic expectations

I’ll be the first to admit, I sometimes put unrealistic expectations on myself. I don’t know about your entire family but sometimes I get into this heap of anxiety when it comes to simple (but not for me) gift giving. I feel as if it is my duty to make sure I get the best gifts out there because that is what family expects. Not knowing what to get, how much is too much, will my present just end in a garage sale in a short span of time and the practical person I am wonders, can I really afford all this? (which most of the time is true because my family keeps growing). This is just a small example.

Expectations can lead to a lot of division and frustrations among family and friends. Not to mention health problems from all of the pressure. So what if we met our family and friends where they are at in life? Chances are, I think we would all get along a little better and treat each other with kindness.

How can we back down the expectations just a bit…?  The first step really is to ask questions and never assume.  Just because one family can afford a $15 Christmas gift limit for each person or child in the family, doesn’t mean the others can.  Understanding where someone is at in their life and what they are capable of doing and giving changes with every single person.

fear of change

Holiday traditions may cause us to fear change

People get uneasy when it comes to changing things up.  I think the fear is that, if we change things up, it will never be the same again. Our traditions will forever be changed. Then what if we lose something?  I get it- I really do. You think it wont ever be the same again. However, what if the change turns out to be good. The worst thing that could happen is that the change will end up a little unpleasant. But really, so what. I say…just scrap it if it doesn’t work and go back to whatever you thought was a good enough tradition.

What I want to get across to people and families is that not every year has to be the same. If someone wants to attempt to make mom’s divine Swedish meatballs, why can’t they? It may take the pressure off her and the expectation that it has to be done by mom.

false sense of happiness

Holiday traditions give us a false sense of happiness

Holding to tradition can sometimes give us a false sense of happiness. Think about all the things we do during the holidays- black Friday shopping or turkey at Thanksgiving.  These things don’t necessary make us happy. They are a temporary feel good but don’t have the lasting joy-filled effect.  What gives us the lasting effect is who we spend time with and how we spend time with them.

We often forget or let is slide by us, the significance of the holidays- gratitude, love, and giving.  Is it displayed in our actions toward each other? You can give something completely free and it can have the most profound effect on someone.

People want to be loved, cared for and understood.  Can we do that?

One book I do want to mention, The Five Love Languages, is often recommended for couples but I think it is a great read to incorporate in all of your relationships. I believe it will really get you thinking about ways you can love someone, in a personal way during the holidays and not let tradition get in the way of meeting people where they are at in life.  The Five Love Languages has been a book that has opened my eyes to discover so much about myself and others.  It has given me insight into how I can better love people.

 The 5 love languages

Find this book at Biblio.com
Be blessed & bless other this holiday season!

Dani

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RELATED POSTS: How to Self Care during the holiday season3 Reasons Why We Give With Power And Purpose

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4 thoughts on “Why We Stick To Holiday Traditions (and the effect it can have on us)

  1. We changed up our Thanksgiving it was really scary not to do that traditional turkey but I just felt it was a waste to cook for only 4 people. So I decided to make Ham sliders and funeral potatoes and bought little personal pies and we headed up to a picnic spot and rode ATVs and it ended up being pretty amazing and relaxing. Now we have a new tradition and others are even wanting to come join us. The memories of riding and spending the day having fun stands out more than overstuffing themselves now.

  2. Great post Dani. My holidays changed big time when I began traveling. Change really is good because when things keep changing, it proves you are alive LOL. Keeping traditions is good and being flexible even better because some traditions do change over time.

  3. Interesting perspective Dani. I do love keeping some family traditions going but being open to changing things up, giving things a twist. We can still honor our ancestors & elders (if that’s where our traditions come from) and surprised them in new & unexpected ways too. Love the idea of keeping it fresh & fun instead of getting bogged down by the stress the holidays can bring.

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