Redefining Traditions – A Time to Be Grateful

 In Change, Character, Communication, Conflict, Goals, Relationships, Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem

This year as we approach the holiday season, I find that instead of my usual excitement and anticipation, I’m feeling kind of lost. Before the year of Covid we had our traditions, and celebrated the Fall holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other religious holidays, and New Year’s with friends and family. However, this year everything is different and I’m not sure what to do with it.

As with many people, I come from a family that had specific ways of celebrating each holiday, and these eventually became our family traditions.

For example, when I was a child there was a certain comfort in knowing that Thanksgiving Day would be spent at our house with my Dad barbecuing the turkey, and Christmas Eve would be a gathering of my father’s family at the home of one of my Uncles. There was never any question of where we’d go or who would be there, although there was always interest in what new boyfriend or girlfriend our teenage cousins would bring along. Even after I married, my husband and I lived near my family, and he fit into the established pattern. When we had children, they just fit in too.

In my world, holidays have always been about the people. If we didn’t have family close by, we would reach out to friends and share the day with them.

As we all know, this year is very different. Because of the pandemic we are told to not spend time with people because it might spread the disease. So here I am, wondering what does one do to celebrate the holidays. I must admit I wasn’t prepared to deal with this new dilemma, since I naively assumed everyone would always be here and things would just go on as they always had.

Of course, life is about change, and this year is just another one to decide how to deal with. I realize I can spend my time looking back and being sad that our regular celebrations can’t happen this year, or I can look around me and be grateful for all the amazingly wonderful things I have in my life. I choose to be grateful.

Because of technology I can still reach out to family and friends, and we can talk on the phone or get together on Zoom or one of the many other video chat platforms. We can still share the day and our love for one another, just in a different way.

Of course, there is no tradition this year. There is no routine anymore. Hopefully whatever we choose to do this year will not have to continue into the future. Although, as we live our lives, every holiday is different, depending on where we are and what is happening in the world. I’ve realized that celebrating and tradition aren’t really about what we eat or where we go. The thing that continues to make each holiday “traditional” for me is that it is a gathering together of people, physically or virtually, who care about each other. I now know it’s a time to celebrate one another and remember once again how we are all family.

Sandy Abell, MS, LPC, ACC is a best-selling author, life and business coach, speaker, and Licensed Counselor. She specializes in working with professionals, entrepreneurs and people dealing with life transitions, and is the author of the Amazon bestseller Feeling Good About You and Moving Up to Management for New Supervisors (both available on Please visit Sandy on her website at to check out her books and free resources, and sign up for her free newsletters.

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