A friend of mine was concerned about the upcoming holiday season. Recently married to a man with two adult children, she and her husband were at a loss as what to do about traditions.
“The kids have been wonderful about accepting me as part of their lives and I wanted to do something special for the holidays.”
“The problem is,” she continued, “they have no family traditions established for when they come to our home. I want them and their children to feel excited and comfortable coming here for the holidays.”
There are many in the same position as my friend. Some families are a two-religion household. Some decide that the customs and traditions of their childhood aren’t what they now need; still others grew up with out any real traditions but wish they had.
The solution to all this? Create your own traditions.
Holiday traditions become something special because of the memories associated with them. Some are religious, like lighting special candles or serving ethnic foods symbolic of your faith. Others, like putting milk and cookies out for Santa, are just fun. Anything you do for a holiday can become a tradition.
If you have become a stepparent recently to adult children and this is the first holiday together with them, be innovative. Ask them what they would like to do and honor their requests for special food or customs. Remember, familiarity to is comforting. But do introduce new traditions, ones that you create as a blended family.
It can be as simple as having hot chocolate with whipped cream after dinner or as elaborate as putting special decorations with each family member’s name imprinted on them in a place of honor.
If you and your husband are of different faiths or belief systems, create something that is distinctly yours as a couple. One husband and wife I met have a tradition that is special to them. They make heart-shaped breads filled with raisins and currents every year. It symbolizes their love. This year they have begun making the breads as gifts for their friends too.
Another couple has a tradition of having two dinner parties, a week a part, for both of their families. At one they serve traditional Jewish food, at the other traditional Italian food. Both families learn to appreciate each other in a friendly gathering. They look forward to this cultural exchange every year. Holding to old traditions and customs is warm and loving but creating new traditions to enjoy every year is exciting and fun.
Traditions are something that make memories. Make a few new ones this year.
© 2019 Copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved
Kristen Houghton’s new book, Lilith Angel, was published in April, 2019 and is already in the top “fiction top five” by Nielson Ratings. She is the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. The first four books in her best-selling series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation, are now available in a special boxset. She is also the author of the Horror Writers of America award-winning Quick-Read, Welcome to Hell.