Keeping Family Traditions Alive

November 24, 2015 · Share via Email LinkedIn

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More than any other, this season is filled with family. For many Boomers, it's also a season of significant change. While Boomers' homes may have been the holiday hub for the whole gang in years past, it's now more likely that their children's family is running the holiday show. Combine this with grandchildren, new in-laws, and perhaps traveling after a relocation, the holidays can leave Boomers feeling a little stressed out over change and like their long-held family traditions have been shuffled.

Luckily, this season is also the perfect opportunity to set new traditions — and involve the entire family the process. While it's stereotyped that Millennials lack the strong family values of Boomers, a White House study reports that Millennials incredibly value family, especially the relationship with their Boomer parents. And, as such, the holidays are the perfect time to remind the whole family why traditions are so important.

For Boomers passing along the upholding of family traditions to Millennial children, here's how to approach the conversation:

Acknowledge that Traditions Have Changed

Whether it's that matriarch of your family has passed or that all the grandchildren live in another city, traditions often shift in face of logistics and circumstance. Rather than let change get you down, look at this as an opportunity to create new family traditions, especially ones that your Millennial children will pass on to their own children. Yet, it's important to acknowledge the change that has occurred and that you're excited to set new ones!

Share What You Love About Traditions Past

The key to setting new traditions is to shape them with the values that matter to your family most. So, what is it you love about the traditions of past generations? Maybe, it is the storytelling of your family's immigration. Or, the public service you undertake together. Or, maybe it's the secret dessert recipe and laughter around the fireplace.

On this flip side of this, what is your concern about traditions changing? Whether it is the cost of travel, family conflict or feeling out of the loop, identifying your fears alongside what you love about past family traditions helps to identify ways to move forward with new traditions that take all of these factors into account.

Now, Pass the Tradition On

Once your family has collectively determined what the new tradition for the holidays will be (maybe dinner at your in-laws?), stick with it. Remember that it's now time to let your full-grown children shape traditions of their own. Though feel free to own a piece of that tradition, too. Perhaps you'll bake the pies every year or take all the grandchildren on a special trip. The key to making a tradition is to making it a yearly habit, so keep at it! Before you know it, the new traditions will grow into a fond and warming part of your holiday season for the entire family.