Year by year the complexities of this world grow more bewildering. We need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities and to teach our children to do the same. For in so doing, we enable them to seek contentment within themselves rather than relying on electronic devices for their entertainment.
Change and adjustment are essential for those in mourning. The early stages of grief require new practices. Even customs “set in stone” need to be modified. We need to remember to include other grieving members of the family, especially children, in the decisions regarding family customs.
Incorporate the memory of your dearly departed into the holidays: Share your favorite stories over dinner. Make a toast or light a candle in remembrance. Making a contribution to a favorite charity, donating a book to the library or making a plan to plant a tree in their memory is of great solace. This in itself may become part of your revised holiday tradition. Traditions bind families and societies tightly to one another. But altering our traditions to suit our current state of affairs makes sense. Each moment, each stage of life, demands its own customs and its own rituals. For while family tradition serves to build a bridge from the past to the present, an adaptation of custom is necessary to take us into the future.
It has occurred to me that my most enjoyable holiday season was the one where I had actually planned ahead and incorporated holiday preparations into our normal day to day activities from early on. Try it. It is so rewarding!
We want so badly to create family traditions and to provide the magical experience we like to remember. All too often the holidays are upon us, and we try to achieve a set of unrealistic self-imposed expectations that makes us and everyone around us miserable. By jump starting preparation, we are able to actually relax and enjoy the season in a way we would not have thought possible.