Traditions are a wonderful way for families to connect and build memories. Yet traditions need not be forever. You can change a tradition and you should if it no longer works for you. How to tell when to drop or change a tradition? Watch and reflect - if you are looking at a tradition that has become too burdensome and if that tradition doesn’t meet a goal you have for your family, then it’s time to consider changing or dropping the tradition. It can seem awkward, or even sacrilegious, to change a tradition but you’ll adjust, I promise. I know because we did it. We dropped a BIG tradition. We chose to leave Santa out of Christmas. Here’s how it happened for us:
It was December, we lived in Northwestern Wisconsin, and our eldest, Kelsey, was one year old. The holiday season was well established. Kelsey loved the season; she delighted in the snow, the icicles on the house, the holiday lights, and the special foods. She loved the holiday music and the cookies we baked. She was overjoyed the day we brought a tree into the house; it was her first experience of a Christmas tree. There was so much to experience that year. We were a young family reveling in the sights, smells, sensations and mysteries of the season. We delighted together at the snowflakes (they are so intricate), the stars that stood out in the black sky, and the Northern Lights that shone at night. Add a few gifts to open and we knew our daughter would be more than satisfied. Something told us, “This is enough.” We had a sense that our little girl didn’t need Santa. She already had enough mystery, joy, and abundance. We were living in a wonderland and needed no man in a red suit to complete our holiday delights. So we never bothered to introduce Santa. It was that simple. For us it was our way of saying, "ENOUGH!" And it was simple.
We focused on teaching our kids about joy, mystery, and love. Those were our important holiday messages. Our kids loved the traditions we did celebrate and they claim (at ages 25, 23, and 17) that they didn’t miss Santa, at all.
I’m not suggesting that YOU skip Santa. But I am suggesting that you look at the holiday traditions you celebrate. If you have one or two that have become burdensome or unnecessary, I urge you to consider dropping them. Hang on to the ones that are important to you and that help you stay connected to those you love.