Rituals and traditions are sometimes lost in our modern society. Lots of people think of them as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘out of date’. As a therapist, I think that rituals and traditions are important though. They help to ground us and sooth us when things are difficult. And when these rituals are shared together as family traditions, they become bonding experiences. Holiday traditions can take the people that we love and fun time of the year and wrap them together in a way that helps us feel closer and connected. But when you’re in a new relationship, it’s tough to have traditions – after all, the relationship is still new. So here are some tips and tricks on how to start some traditions in a new relationship.
Start with Family Traditions
It you are at a loss you can always start with what your family did growing up. Think about a tradition that you really loved as a kid. Why not bring this into your new relationship? Sharing a part of your own family’s traditions that were meaningful to you can be very bonding – especially in a new relationship as you share things that are meaningful to you. You can take this as an opportunity to connect, to hear about the things each other loved about their own family traditions. This is a way to know each other in very personal ways.
Get Weird with It!
Some of my favorite family memories around the holidays are very specific to my family. My family is currently in the south, so it tends to be on the warm side when I visit for the holidays. It is pretty common for our Christmas day to involve something being grilled, and sitting outside while it is cooking.
Maybe your family was not big on traditions. Or Maybe you just want to branch out. Do something off the wall. Make your own traditional meal instead of the usual turkey or ham type spread. Play a certain game that you love. Make up a new game together. Let your creativity go wild on this one!
Spend This Time Together
This could be an extremely obvious point to some people, but it is worth saying. Make sure that you spend time together around the holidays. Spend time brainstorming new traditions together instead of letting one person handle it all.
Time is the key ingredient. Whatever the activity, the time you spend together is what matters the most. We live fast paced lives. Holidays are one of the few times that we have built into our life to slow down. I can not think of anything better to do with this time than to spend it with the people that you care about the most. Spending this time together communicates that you are important to each other.
If you find yourself struggling through the holidays, or that it places stress on your relationship, give The Marriage and Family Clinic a call.
About the Author
Ryan Hicks is a licensed therapist and marriage counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with couples in high conflict and working with couples in the LGBTQ community. When he’s not working with couples, you’ll find him rock climbing or taking in the great outdoors of Colorado.