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How Can I Start New Holiday Traditions?

People might look to changing things up around holiday dinners to create new traditions.
A single parent may choose to start new holiday traditions to accommodate differences in the household.
Writing letters to Santa is a popular tradition for children at Christmas time.
Inviting friends and family over to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree can be a new tradition.
Giving homemade Christmas cookies to neighbors can be the start of a holiday tradition.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2015
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With the increasing number of blended and second families comes a growing desire for new traditions during the holidays. New step-parents are often eager to bond with their step-children by creating new traditions as a fledgling family. This is not always an easy process, however, since the introduction of new traditions can also signal the end of old traditions established by a household which no longer exists, or has been permanently altered by circumstances out of a child's control.

One way to start new traditions during the holidays is to simply start them. As long as the new traditions are not radical departures from former family traditions, you should be able to implement some new ideas fairly easily. It could simply be a matter of hanging a new wreath over the doorway or baking decorative cookies and giving them away to neighbors. There doesn't have to be an explanation or discussion about certain new traditions, just a demonstrated interest in seeing the project through.

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A step-parent or single parent with a new romantic partner may have to begin certain new traditions gradually. Children need time to adjust to blended families, so don't expect immediate acceptance of someone else's new traditions. If a child still wants to hang a favorite ornament of a deceased or divorced parent, for example, he or she should have that option along with new traditions introduced over time by a new family. When the children are ready for new traditions, they will often let new parents know in very subtle ways. A new parent may simply leave a box of ornaments out in the open and allow children to decide when it's time to let go.

Starting some new traditions may take a little negotiation between new parents and their blended families. A parent may want to ask older children if it would be okay to use a different tree-topper with sentimental value, or to spend more time at a new relative's home during the holidays. If a new parent has old family movies or photographs depicting the suggested new traditions in action, children may have an easier time accepting the changes. Creating new traditions should not be viewed as a overnight thing, but as a positive long-term way to build new connections with a new blended family.

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Discuss this Article

Ana1234
Post 3

@MrsPramm - I try not to get caught up in that stuff too much. I might get a little bit resentful if, for example, my family decided to completely change our traditional menu for the holidays, but that's just because we never get to have Christmas ham and turkey any other time. Other than that, we make changes all the time. One year we did a secret santa, rather than trying to get gifts for everyone, because no one could afford huge amounts of gifts that year. One year my parents took a cruise on Christmas and the rest of us just had a casual meal and watched movies.

I think people can put too much emphasis on doing the same

things every year, and this can lead to hurt feelings and disappointed expectations. I'm always hearing people talk about how Christmas and other holidays just don't seem the same anymore. But it really is just what you make out of it.
MrsPramm
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I do think that it depends on the people and on the occasion and on the traditions though. There is definitely a point where people will cling to a particular tradition for much longer than is warranted and will resent attempts to change it even if they make sense.

New holiday traditions will become just as beloved in time and if the only reason you can come up with for a tradition is "we've always done it this way" then I'm not sure keeping it is always justified.

lluviaporos
Post 1

I think the most important thing here is to make sure that new traditions aren't being put in place to remove older ones. Traditions might not make sense to anyone else, but often they have deep meaning for the people who hold them and sometimes even the people close to them might not realize how important a certain ritual is until it is displaced.

I think another difficulty that many people face is that they don't actually realize they have a tradition until it is changed or taken away. They might be taking their habits or customs for granted as being "what everyone does" until they come across someone who does it differently.

There is no right way to celebrate a holiday, but it is important to make sure that everyone is happy and feels included, whether their traditions make sense to you or not.

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