The holidays are often a time of great pain for people.
I see it in my clinic every year. There is the stress of trying to put together the perfect event, to look perfect, to be perfect. There is the stress of seeing family members that might be toxic. There is the stress of being surrounded by food and alcohol that will leave you overweight, inflamed, and exhausted if you imbibe in it. There is financial stress, schedule stress, work stress, and on and on and on. I have patients staggering into my clinic in January looking like they have been run over by a truck rather than uplifted with the joy of the season.
What if you created a holiday season with traditions that didn’t exhaust you?
We have started doing that in my home. When my four kids were small I used to write a letter from Santa that had a story that grew on itself each year. I had a reindeer that showed up before Christmas and brought them little surprises. We had them burst through a wall of wrapping paper Christmas morning to get to the Christmas tree. We also celebrated Hanukkah by reading about the meaning of the candles, oil and light, eating latkes and playing with a dreidel. We celebrated Kwanza and Diwali. California Adventures did this too. It was great. My mom and I had a great time enjoying Yiddish music, African music, Indian dance, and a candle light processional that led to a powerful music filled nativity performance.
Now that my kids are grown we don’t buy presents and we don’t stress about anything.
We share experiences.
We started a new tradition last year that has caught on and is being repeated this year. Our Christmas is Harry Potter themed. Yes, we are weird. We hang candles from the ceiling to make it look like the great hall at Hogwarts. Each person in the family is responsible for bringing an event rather than a present. We have a tri-wizard tournament, wand dueling and our kitchen is called “The Three Broomsticks”. My dad has made wands for every person in the family. We even play quidditch. It’s low key on me because I am only responsible for one event. We celebrate for 4 days, having a lot of laughs together.
What are your traditions?
I would love to hear back from you. Traditions help create fond memories. They also help you know what is coming so you can plan. Make sure they are doable so you have some time for your own self-care! Laughter is one of the most healing activities you can engage in. Check in with yourself and see if you are doing enough of it. If not, build in some activities that will elicit laughter from you. My prayer for you is that you might find joy in your life!
Email your traditions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “traditions” in the subject line and let me know if I can use your name. Send me a little blurb about you and I will talk about some of these on Facebook (follow me here if you haven’t already).
Another tradition we have is to take our traditional and sometimes generational family recipes and make them healthy.
So much love and light and many blessings to you this holiday season,
P.S. When my children were young I used to make German pancakes for them on Christmas morning. Get the recipe HERE! Of course, these are traditionally made with white flour. I was elated when I figured out how to make them with an alternative flour. I serve them with raspberries that I have simmered on the stove top with a little maple syrup. I hope you enjoy!