Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making New Traditions

As the holidays get closer, I have a question for you. Are you going home to share in old traditions, or starting to make new ones on your own? Either way, this is a season to spend time with those you are closest to. It’s great if you can go home and share in the same traditions you did when you were younger, but for many of us, growing up means things change. Either you don’t go home or others in your social circle can’t be around. So, this year, why not start a new tradition? Not sure how? Here are some of the top ideas other people have used to start building a their own holiday customs.

  1. Make a family of friends – If you can’t be with your real family this season, get together with your friends and co-workers who may also be spending the holidays away from loved ones. One of the best things you can do is plan a festive pot luck. This way you aren’t stuck in the kitchen, and everyone can bring something that reflects their own traditions. Even if you are not especially close to the people you invite, you’ll find the holidays are a great time to make new connections.

  2. Do something good – If you find yourself with more time than usual this holiday season, why not spend some of it giving back? Soup kitchens and shelters are especially strapped for volunteers. With more people coming through the doors, you can make a big difference by lending an extra hand. Other options include visiting a nursing home or children’s hospital to spread some holiday cheer. To find out about opportunities in your area, check out!

  3. Try something new – A great new tradition is to vow to try something new each season before the year ends. It can be anything from taking a holiday themed cooking class to trying snowboarding for the first time (just be safe!).

  4. Make someone smile – See how many people you can make smile this season with small acts of kindness. Make cookies for your co-workers, leave a thank you note for your trash men, or help someone whose loaded down with holiday shopping bags. Feeling strong? Offer to help an elderly neighbor shovel snow or put up holiday lights. A great extension of this is to put a quarter in a jar for every smile you bring. Come New Year’s, see how much you’ve collected and make a donation to charity.

  5. Swap traditions – Now is the perfect time to learn about a holiday different than your own. If you have a friend of a different faith or denomination, ask how he or she celebrates and see if you can get involved. You can also contact some local cultural groups to see if they have any events you can partake in. Observing how others celebrate this season can help you appreciate the true meaning of the holidays.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! What lovely suggestions for a meaninful idea--and a meaningful life, for that matter. I particularly like "Try Something New" and "Make Someone Smile." What a beautiful idea--see how many people you can make smile! Getting out and doing some good is always a great idea too. I noticed you mentioned VolunteerMatch--a great resource! I work for UniversalGiving, another great resource for volunteering or donating opportunities. Check us out at, or our blog is
    Once again, thanks for some excellent thoughts!

    Cheryl Mahoney