Family Traditions

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, December 21, 2022
By Todd D. Giardina, PH. D

I heard a quote somewhere that traditions are just peer pressure from ghosts. Or, elder living family members, in many cases as well.

cookies and gifts

So when you carry out your holiday traditions this year, whatever they may look like, ask yourself if you’re doing it by choice or obligation?

Are you checking the box just to make other people happy? And sometimes that’s an okay goal, but then your loved ones’ happiness is the goal, and you have to be honest with yourself about that. And remember why you’re doing it. With less grumbling.

What I would prefer is for you to choose to engage in these traditions. Own them. Don’t just check the box. Make them yours.

And modify them to make them fit to you. Your family. Your timeline. Traditions started somewhere. It was nothing then it became something. Traditions can evolve. The story goes on. We can add a new chapter to the narrative.

I loved that show This is Us. And they had a Thanksgiving tradition that centered around a silly hat, a long walk, and a terrible Police Academy movie. All to be a retelling of a heartfelt Thanksgiving that the family shared years prior. But those activities, events, and movie hold no meaning unless you were part of that story. So we have to tell new people the story, and then let them write their own chapter. That they get to participate in.

And that’s how traditions are born. It’s about love shared among family. It’s about communal experience. It’s not about a guilt trip or being afraid that your great grandmother will come back from the grave and be so frustrated you didn’t hang the heirloom whip-a-whopper or whatever.

Act on traditions with intention, and with love in your heart. Make memories this year, and those will become the traditions of years to come.

Happy Holidays!