So where do you start with what traditions to keep and which to let go? Ask yourself "The WHY"...Why are you carrying this tradition? Do you remember the story about the daughter who was intrigued by her mother’s way of preparing the holiday ham to bake in the oven? Her mother would always cut the sides off the ham before placing it in the pan. One day, when helping her mother prepare the holiday feast, she asked her mother why she always cut off the sides of the ham. Her mother replied, “Because that’s the way my mother always did it.” Now, some of you may know how the rest of the story goes; she asks her grandmother why she cut off the sides of the ham before she put it in the pan, and her grandmother replied, “Because that is the way my mother always did it.” She finally went to her great grandmother and asked her why SHE cut the sides off the ham before placing it in the pan, and her great grandmother let out a laugh and said, "Oh honey, the reason why I did that was because the ham was always too big for the pan!”
When a tradition is passed down from generation to generation because it has meaning, it becomes more special. Are you on autopilot when it comes to traditions because the family, “Always did it that way?”
So here is something to ask yourself...Does doing these traditions make you happy, and do you know that what you are doing makes others happy as well?
Here's an interesting story about my client, Janet. She is an amazing woman with a large, beautiful home that she decorates for the holidays, and does it entirely on her own. She would put up not one, but two Christmas trees; one on her main floor, in the living room, and the other, on the landing of the second floor, in front of a big window. It was a lot of work for her to do everything that she did for the holidays, plus decorate two trees. She wrestled with the idea of putting the second one up at all, but didn’t want to disappoint her family, because she thought they loved seeing the tree when they passed it on their way from the hallway down to the foyer, and in the window when they came home at night.
After a lot of thought, she decided not to put up the second tree, but didn't tell her family about it.
I asked her, “Janet, what did your family say when they noticed that you didn’t put up the second tree?
"She smiled and said, “You know Cindy, that was over three years ago, and no one has said a thing about it!”
Phase out traditions that drain you, so you can have the space for the ones that light you up. This way you will be less stressed, and have more energy to project what the holidays were intended to be; time spent with the people you care about the most.