Easter has just passed and we are in the middle of Passover. Now, while everything is fresh in your mind, is a great time to reflect on your holiday traditions.
What do you love? What is no longer serving you? What would you change if you could? What would your holidays look like if you created them just as you wanted them?
My husband and I grew up with very different holiday traditions. Many families have mixed backgrounds and traditions, and even if you come from a similar background you may have very different ways of celebrating holidays. In our family we pick and choose how we want to blend our backgrounds and traditions, focusing on what is similar and also what is personally special to us. For example, what are my favorite parts of Passover, what is most meaningful for him about Easter? In other families, taking turns works. It’s also okay to scale back. There is no right or wrong, just choices.
It really doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. You can find a way to honor your past traditions in your own new way. And you can you use the process of blending traditions to create something unique for your family. But it takes imagination and conversation to create what feels just right for you and your family.
Imagine Your Ideal Spring Holiday Tradition
Take some time to journal about what your ideal spring holiday tradition would look like. Would it mean staying home with your immediate family? Hosting a big gathering? Joining family for a meal out at a restaurant? Think about the people involved, the activities … the feel you want.
As you journal, just write down what you want or what appeals to you. Don’t worry about how other people—your parents, your in-laws, your kids—would react. Don’t edit things because of how things have already been. Just get curious about what you want.
When you are done writing, think about your why. What appeals to you? Does eating a lighter meal reflect on your values of health? Does having a big gathering connect to your value of family or community? Check in with your personal and family values. How can you make your holiday more in-line with them?
Hold a Holiday Tradition Family Meeting
Once you are clear what you want, try holding a family meeting. Before you start describing the changes you want, listen. Some questions to ask are:
- What is your favorite part of our Easter/Passover tradition?
- What do you like about that? Why is is special to you?
- Is there anything you’d like to be different?
Traditions have a gravity to them. They are rooting and grounding. Change may be unsettling for kids or adults. Understanding the why again can help get everyone on board with changes.
For example, if your kids absolutely don’t want to miss the egg hunt at the park, is it about seeing their friends? Getting more candy or prizes? Or doing something “special” or out of the ordinary? Maybe having friends over for a hunt at your house would fill their needs and feel less stressful for you than dealing with parking and crowds. Plus you’d get to connect with a few friends.
Sometimes the important thing from one family member will conflict with that of another. Perhaps you’d like an intimate brunch at home, but your partner wants to go to a restaurant with his family. Can you compromise? Have a relaxed breakfast and then meet them out of a late afternoon dinner? Could you alternate years?
If you have deep rooted traditions, it may not be an easy conversation, but in the end, having it allows you and your family to have traditions that fit your values and serve you. The most powerful traditions mean something to the people who follow them. So it may be time to reconnect to the why of a tradition, to tweak it, or to change it all together.
What would my ideal holiday look like?
What traditions do I love? What do I love about them?
Which do I want to let go of? Why?
Remember family stories and traditions are your heritage. Each family has a history that no other family has. If you’re interested in the role of storytelling in your own family legacy, you’ll love my free resource 5 Questions to Ask at the Table. By telling your stories and sharing them, you keep your history, tradition and ancestors alive, and build connection within your family and across generations.