Submitted Date 12/25/2018

When you get divorced from a spouse or have lost loved ones through death, the holidays can be a stressful time as you wonder how to celebrate.

Tradition consumes us, always in demand of our attention when the time comes. From Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year鈥檚 celebrations, traditions will knock on our doors whether we like it or not.

You may be asking yourself:

路 How can I practice these traditions in my new life?

路 What if they remind me of the memories I wish to forget?

路 What if they taint my new relationship?

The truth is鈥攖raditions are what you make of them. Whether it is divorce or death that arouses feelings of sadness around the holidays, I have found traditions are about doing things that you look forward to doing. If you do not look forward to it anymore, then do not incorporate those traditions into your celebrations anymore.

The first step in recreating your holiday traditions is to pinpoint the traditions in your life and what kind of memories they trigger.

Some of my favorite holiday traditions stir up memories of Christmas pasts, with three women who are no longer with me today.

路 Once the JCPenney Christmas catalog arrived in the mail, my Aunt Emmy helped me write my extremely long Christmas list as a child.

路 I baked Cheesecake with my mother.

路 I helped my grandmother fill the cream puffs before everyone arrived for Christmas Eve dinner.

Some of my other past traditions:

路 Baking cookies and cakes followed by decorating them with frosting and sprinkles.

路 Buying those Star Cookies from the butcher on Grand Avenue in Queens, NYC.

路 Decorating the Christmas Tree with my brother.

路 Displaying our stockings with names written in glitter.

Looking back at these traditions that I cultivated in my childhood, I realize I wanted to do them different as an adult, to reflect more the person I am today. One of the traditions I kept in its original form was my mother鈥檚 cheesecake. When it came to the tree, I wanted to decorate with purple lights rather than the traditional Christmas colors. I also used more meaningful ornaments as a reflection of our personalities and our tastes. These are just some subtle changes I made to my traditions.

Last night, my boyfriend and I hosted Christmas Eve dinner. After last night鈥檚 success, I would say some new traditions I hope to cultivate are:

路 Serving French Onion Soup as an appetizer.

路 Making prime rib as the main entr茅e.

I am looking forward to the next Christmas Eve dinner and making these two things a tradition. If you ever thought about trying something new, the holidays are the best time to do it. If you like it, you can repeat it and consider making it a tradition. If you do not like it, you can try something else next time.

There are many new things that I did this year. Some of them are:

路 Buying a couple鈥檚 ornament with the year and our names.

路 Buying ornaments that reflect our unique personalities.

路 Giving a meaningful ornament to the kids to help them develop their own collection of ornaments.

路 Displaying individualized stockings of a variety of styles without our names in glitter.

路 Hanging outdoor Christmas lights.

路 Enjoying Brunch on Christmas day. This year, we had French toast bake.

Since these are still new, I cannot label them as traditions. Only time will tell what my traditions will be. I do know I want to foster developing some traditions that are unique to us as a couple.

I would love to hear from you. Comment below with your favorite tradition or one you want to start.

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash


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