It’s OK to Change Things Up a Bit While Honoring Your Family’s Holiday Traditions

Red hearts on a red musical staff

When it comes to the holidays doing it the same but different is probably the most popular option, and it’s a good one. You are only limited by your imagination

Many of these ideas are ways of allowing the memory of your loved one to be present in the midst of your family traditions. Be on the lookout for other ways you can acknowledge them throughout the season.

Some variations you might consider…

Create new rituals that have meaning for you.

Everything we do to celebrate the holidays has a bit of ritual to it. Feel free to change some, eliminate others, and create new ones. In many ways, this is an opportunity to explore which traditions hold meaning for you and which don’t.

Eliminate the things you don’t like to do.

There’s always something (often more than one something, yes?), and this can be an opportunity to eliminate them. Go back to the idea of keeping it simple and drop anything that makes the holidays feel overwhelming.

Do the same, only more so.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may decide to do things as they’ve always been only more so. Maybe you’ll decide to go on a cookie baking binge and give more away to friends and neighbors. After my mother died, the rest of us went way, way overboard on gift giving. Though many were small and inexpensive gifts, having all those packages to wrap and open, kept us busy and distracted. It also kept us focused on each other rather than on who was missing.

Light a candle in remembrance.

Lighting a candle is a simple and effective way of acknowledging the person who died. Not only is it helpful over the holidays, but it is a lovely ritual on other occasions as well, such as weddings, christenings, confirmations, etc.

Visit the cemetery.

Take plants or ornaments to decorate the grave. Some people like to leave notes, while others go to talk, share or meditate.

Play your loved one’s favorite Christmas music.

Perhaps not all that different, but go ahead and play more of it. Be intentional about it. There may even be some groaners you now feel nostalgic about, so go ahead and indulge.

Hang a stocking for the person who died.

Ask family members to leave notes and memories in the stocking. Some people like to share these notes and trinkets, while others do not. Make sure you’re all on the same page with this one.

Leave an empty seat at the table.

Some people like to set a place. Others will add a photograph to fill the space. This can be particularly good for anyone who sat at the head of the table, but it can be useful for anyone.

Make time to reminisce.

Sharing memories and stories can bring on tears, but they also feed your heart. Don’t avoid the memories because of a few tears. Spread the tears and the memories around.

Make their favorite foods and share their favorite recipes. Or add that dish they never wanted to try.

Other ideas? Please feel free to share them.

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Photo Credit: Image by monicore from Pixabay

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