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By Mayo Clinic staff
Traditions play a big part in our lives during the holidays. However, it can be difficult to maintain the same traditions each year due to family changes, such as a lost loved one, unemployment, a new family member, divorce/separation or a move. Here are five tips to help you navigate changes to your family holiday traditions:
- Communicate your expectations.
No one can read your mind, so discuss with your family which traditions may change and why. This opens a dialogue and lessens the chance of hurt feelings or misunderstanding.
- Aim for what works for this year only.
Some traditions can be difficult to let go of but aren’t practical due to family changes. Focus on what brings you meaning this year, and give yourself permission to do something different next year.
- Focus on people, not on a specific date and time.
You may need to celebrate a couple days earlier or later than you would have liked. But don’t get so locked into your traditions that you lose sight of the most important part: spending time together.
- Recognize the importance of food traditions.
Favorite foods can remind us of happy memories and are a great way to include a family member who is gone. Serving Grandpa’s pie or Aunt Anne’s stuffing can nourish your body and soul.
- Honor your feelings.
Give yourself permission to feel sad, tired or anxious at some point during the holidays. You’re only human, and that’s OK. Take a break if your emotions are too intense, and focus on small things that bring you joy.