New Holiday Traditions with Your Partner

As the holidays approach, we begin to feel the pull on us to participate in family and friends’ traditions. The challenge when two people come together in a relationship is to find the balance between doing things with other people the way they expect and the couple creating their own traditions. 

Traditions are often activities that have been done for many, many years, to a point where no one remembers how it even got started or why. 

I remember the story of a woman who learned to cook a roast from her mother. Her mother always cut the end off of the roast before putting it into the roasting pan. After years of doing this herself and fending off questions from her own family as to why she did that, the woman asked her mother why she always cut the end off of the roast before placing it into the pan. 

“Oh, that’s simple, dear” the mother started. “ My roasting pan was never big enough so I had to cut a couple inches off of the end to get it to fit!” 

Question the origin of traditions and you may get some interesting answers! 

Creating your own traditions 

A great bonding exercise with your partner during the holidays is to create one or more “traditions” that are just for the two of you. Many traditions start accidentally or unintentionally (remember the roast?).  

Creating a new tradition can take a little time and imagination. Keep these few things in mind as you ponder your new tradition together: 

·        find something that you both really get something from - does helping someone else sound appealing or would you rather do something together to have some “alone” time? 

·        keep it simple - don’t have too many pieces to juggle - if it takes 20 trips to various craft and home stores to fully decorate your house like you want, that tradition may not last more than one season! 

·        be flexible - if something doesn’t work, change it - “Let’s have both families over for brunch the Sunday before Christmas” sounds like a good idea until 20 people show up at your little apartment! 

·        pick something that you both are excited about doing and will participate in - baking 30 dozen cookies to pass out to the neighborhood may not be the best tradition if you find yourself alone in the kitchen after the second batch! 

Your new tradition is a “team” effort so both of you must get satisfaction out of it and enjoy working together to make it happen. 

Here are a few ideas to get your imagination started: 

·        Volunteer at a soup kitchen or organize a food drive. Many volunteers show up on the holidays to help so it may be more useful to pick another time when the facilities have less help. 

·        Set up a dessert or cookie exchange with friends, family or neighbors. Take turns meeting at a different person’s home to do the exchange. 

·        Sponsor an evening in your home where you will help the neighborhood kids create their own holiday ornaments. 

·        Make a gourmet meal with your partner selecting holiday recipes from a different country. 

·        Send cards with a handwritten note to people in a nursing home or children in an orphanage. 

·        Stand on a busy, downtown street during lunch hour and sing carols, collecting money that will be donated to a charity. 

When you start thinking about a new tradition to create, you will find your mind going to the old and familiar. Keep thinking and brainstorming with your partner and you will eventually come up with some new, different and exciting possibilities!

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