Face it. The first Christmas after the big S* is likely going to be one of the hardest, specially if traditions have been ingrained with the kids already. If not, then it’s a clean slate. If yes, then wipe out the old and make a new one.
Yes, while traditions** are a set of customs, beliefs and actions handed down from one generation to another and may seem to be unbreakable, you can actually make new ones yourself! Have fun with it and encourage your kids to do and think of the same. Over time, your new traditions will actually depend on what works best for all of you.
Here’s what happened with me and the kids for some of our Christmas traditions –
Doing the Christmas decors
Before Separation (BS): I did it by myself with the help of the maids (and my father in law for the lights)
First Year after Separation (FYAS): I did it by myself with the help of the maids
Eventual Tradition (ET): I did it with the help of the kids. It’s now a whole weekend fun-time for us.
BS: I did it with my husband
FYAS: I did it by myself
ET: I did it with the help of the kids. I also simplified my Christmas list further and let the kids have their own list. We go to various bazaars to get their gifts for their friends and classmates.
BS: Alternately spent in Metro Manila (with my husband’s side of the family) one year and in Davao City (with my side of the family) the next year.
FYAS: I was alone during Christmas time (kids were with their dad). We went to Tagaytay for New Year holidays. I was trying to create a new tradition of spending New Year holidays out of town since we had to split the holidays into my time, his time with the kids.
ET: We spend it in Davao. The kids decided one year to do it that way and told their dad. They love spending it there where they can also have fun renewing bonds with their cousins, extended family. They do an early Christmas celebration with their dad’s side the weekend before we leave for Davao.
Life milestones – birthdays, first communion, graduations, summer vacations, etc – are also a good way to create family traditions. And if you do it right and consistently, the kids will learn to accept and expect it as a matter of course. But don’t force it on them should they have other ideas.
My daughter Ally for example had a different idea for her 7th birthday. She didn’t want the usual big birthday party with her friends (like what my two elder boys had, and practically every Filipino kid). She wanted to travel out of the country instead. And we did! We went to Hong Kong the summer after her birthday and had a blast (it was our first family trip out of the country) – including unforgettable moments in HK Disneyland, Ocean Park, Wax Museum, etc.
Here are some tips on making your new family traditions:
Lastly, it is trial and error, so don’t despair when everything doesn’t work out the first time. That’s why it’s called tradition since these are things done over time, refined each time, with each other. Have fun! J
About this Post: This post was first published in kiddiekist.com last Dec 2012. I was a regular blogger for this site for sometime. My posts centered on parenting tips for the subscribers of the site.