I have always done this on Christmas. We have always celebrated this way. We have always given gifts this way. I could go on and on. Traditions are great. I love them. They are beautiful things that provide us something to look forward too, they are foundations for memories, and add to the family/individual legacy. Mostly, we are creatures of habit. We like it. We respond accordingly.
Here is the thing. Traditions are awesome sauce, BUT we change. We all know that over time we change and adapt. The person who I was 5 years ago, even one year ago is NOT the person I am today. I have changed and my family has changed. This is normal and OKAY.
We all have our own traditions. Things are family did each year or things we have always done since we had kids. Our significant other also brings their own traditions. Our families each have expectations on meeting these traditions.
Again, life changes and we want to give ourselves permission for our traditions to change. Yes, it is okay to STOP something we have ALWAYS done, if it no longer serves our family or ourselves. We may just stop it for a year. That is okay!
For example, it is IMPOSSIBLE to spend Christmas with each extended family the way you always have. Okay – maybe it is possible for you. If this meets your values and something that makes sense for your family, do it! For me, it is not possible. I do not try to fit into this perfect box and please everyone. It does offend people I am sure, but I need to first care for myself and family.
On the other hand, each year since Bella’s first Halloween, we have visited a local pumpkin patch. It was awesome! We did the maze, we picked our pumpkin, and played in the little kid zone. Beautiful memories and times with our children. This is important to us. BUT this year, it just did not work for us. Now, when I look back maybe it was due to stress or increased commitments. BUT in reality, we did not make it a priority.
Understanding our values as a family, will be helpful in allowing us to prioritize all the things. So, we make sure we do what we want to do as a family. When I say family, it is whatever you define as family. For me, it is first my children and spouse. If it does not make sense for the four of us, then it is not going to happen.
Now how do you produce the same results! How do you become more intentional about our holiday traditions AND make our holidays less stressful.
Write down your Dreams/Values:
YUP – there is homework. You have to take action to get intentional about your life. I will not sugar coat that. I want you to brainstorm with your family your family dreams, your values, and the things that you LOVE about the holiday season.
For some families that will include all the things. All of the trips to see Santa, all of the visits to family, all of the parties, and all of the people. For others, their tradition list may decrease. That is okay! Do what you love, do not do what you feel you SHOULD do or what you have ALWAYS done.
Write down your deal-breakers:
These are things that cause you stress, or that you no longer enjoy. Again, take some time to brainstorm with your family.
NOW, do you want to know what you did with these lists????
You made your life a little easier. Do you know why?
Now that you have your lists, when an event comes up or you need to determine if you want to partake in that particular tradition – you have these lists to refer to.
You have literally given yourself a blueprint to determine if this event or tradition will or wont fit into your dreams or is a deal-breaker. You will know if you want to say yes or no.
It is okay to say no. It is okay to disappoint people in this way. Be honest!
In this season of life, I do not like to commit to things a head of time. It causes me too much stress. I will do my best to attend, if it serves us. BUT I have two children under the age of two. If they are having a bad day, a last minute tantrum, or we just need to stay home and snuggle. That is what we will do. If we missed a nap and now are a hot mess, we will do what we need to do to reset. Maybe it is nap or maybe it is have a dance party. We will do what we need to do. My children are my number one priority.
Intentional Living Tip: It is pretty simple. Get in the practice of doing what serves you and your family. Do not do things because you think you should or because you always have done these things. BUT because you want to. Because they bring you joy. Because you and your family enjoy the activity. Give yourself permission today to make your own rules.