“Holiday traditions are essentially ritualistic behaviors that nurture us and our relationships”. Michelle L. Brennan, Psy.D.
Can you remember a holiday tradition that you enjoyed as a child?
What experiences and feelings does it evoke for you?
I remember the anticipation of preparing the table for Christmas Eve dinner and how happy I felt dancing with my family afterwards.
Through previously loved activities in the midst of family and community, holiday traditions provide us with a sense of safety and connection. They become positive emotional anchors in our lives.
The fact that we live in a multicultural society provide us with an opportunity to keep our traditions, while valuing the traditions of others. We learn about flexibility as we allow others’ rituals to blend in with our own. In my case, I enjoy the coming of the Lunar New Year as another occasion to celebrate and re-start the Solar New Year.
How about using what we know about holiday traditions to develop everyday rituals that could be helpful this New Year?
- Which areas? Think about which area of your life might benefit from a reminder or ritual, maybe it is self-care, your relationship with your spouse or a particular family member, your family as a whole…
- What activities? Think about what activities would help to improve that particular area if they were repeated on a regular basis. From the previous examples, it could be a yoga class, a couple’s date or a family movie night.
- When? Think about your preferred timing and frequency of these activities.
- How? Think about how you are going to realistically include these new rituals in your life. Also, if it involves other people, how to present it to them.
Anchors for new beginnings:
As we usher in the Chinese New Year, we have another chance for a new beginning. Our new everyday rituals will serve as anchors, reminding us of our intentions and connections, and nurturing us in the process.
“…to the soul, the most minute details and the most ordinary activities, carried out with mindfulness and art, have an effect far beyond their apparent insignificance.”
Thomas Moore, “Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday life”.