Are you enslaved by holiday traditions?

The last Stupendous Marriage Podcast had a good discussion of holiday traditions.

Fruitcake © Pancaketom |

Traditions can be great, but they can also be horrible. Some have long since outlasted their relevance or use, while others were bad ideas from the start. But you “have to do it, it’s tradition”.

Yes, sometimes you should do things you do not like for the benefit of others, but there needs to be a limit. This is especially true if the traditions are hurting your family, be it your marriage, your kids, or your ability to develop your own traditions. 

If you and or your wife feel enslaved by any holiday tradition, start by having an honest talk. Do not make it about good or bad or her family versus your family. Talk about what works and what does not and what needs to change to have a sane, fun holiday season for the two of you and your kids. Then talk to family as needed. Approach it from the point of “this is what we need to do for us” making it clear it is not a rejection of anyone. Odds are it will not go over well, but if you buckle it will be twice as hard to change things in the future.

By the way, if you are older and your kids are on their own, and especially if they are married and have kids of their own, please give them the gift of not having to do certain things to keep you happy. Invite them, but make it clear they can say no or suggest a change.

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2 Comments on “Are you enslaved by holiday traditions?

  1. My wife and I got married last December and we were too busy to think much about Christmas last year. (We’re home! Oh yeah…Christmas is in a week.)

    This year we have been trying to establish some of our own Christmas traditions by taking some of our favorite things from our families and some new things of our own. (Such as cutting down our own tree at a tree farm and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My wife is still getting used to this tradition, I think.) I think this will be a good thing for us to remember over the years of our marriage.

  2. I recommend the John Grisham novellete, “Skipping Christmas” for a funny take on what happens when an empty nest couple tries to change Christmas traditions.

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