How Family Traditions Change as You Get Older (and How to Deal)

As Thanksgiving looms, so does the “holiday season” and all of the tradition and family time that comes with it. Most people have traditions that they look forward to, but what happens when family traditions change? Or families change? 

I’ve been very fortunate that my family has had many holiday traditions we’ve done since I was a kid, but for the first time in my life I’m seeing my family in a state of upheaval and it is freaking. me. out.

In your ’20s, your family dynamic often goes through a bit of a natural shift. You’ve left home, you rely on your parents less and less, you become your own person with your own life. But during the holiday season I find myself clinging to those childhood traditions that have been steady throughout my life. They have always been a stabilizing force through a lot of change.

Now though, as I approach 30, and my family grows apart (Hi sister! How’s England?) and grows in size (Hi nephews, love you!) those traditions don’t make much sense anymore. And while I am not ready to let go of them, some have naturally begun to slip away.

With my family life going through monumental changes there are no childhood traditions left for me to cling to to keep me steady. So how do I deal? Here are a few suggestions from someone who is still trying to figure this one out.

Embrace the best of the new

My sister-in-law has become a total boss at hosting family events. She is an amazing cook, a natural hostess and going to their house comes with the added benefit of getting to play with my nephews. Going to a house filled with that much love makes it easier to process that my parents sold my childhood home. I am always into making new memories with my nephews.

My new family dynamic means I am eating more turkey dinners, which means more stuffing, which is never something I will complain about. Ever. Stuffing for life. (I am also predicting more pies. And maybe a cake! Wait¦ What were we talking about?)

Mourn what is gone

Just because there are great new traditions being formed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or can’t be sad about what isn’t there anymore.

Keep your memories close but remember that they are just memories. I like reminiscing with my sisters about past holidays and the years we spent in our childhood home. I am grateful that we got to be so happy for so long in that place and much of who I am now is dictated by those years. 

And finally,

Hold on to what you can

Just because we aren’t having Christmas in the same place doesn’t mean that we can’t maintain our tradition of opening all of our presents on Christmas Eve, or having family dinners all together. I’m making sure I appreciate the things that are still the same and I find a sense of stability in that. 

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