Are you crazy? Bah humbug! Might be a few of your thoughts on reading that headline but hear me out…

For me, Christmas traditions have become strained over the years. I guess in part to our son moving to London with his girlfriend, leaving just the two of us and also because my mother-in-law passed away 2 years ago on 27th December. We spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day that year knowing what was coming. Things have changed.

Over the years, I’ve questioned why we follow the same traditions each year without a second thought. Why do we put up the tree, and buy copious gifts and food just because it’s Christmas? I admit that those three words irritate me – ‘because it’s Christmas’. 

I’ve come to the conclusion it is one of three reasons. 

  1. For religious reasons
  2. For the joy it brings children
  3. Because of cultural and social conditioning

Religious reasons and the joy it brings children are solid reasons to follow Christmas traditions in my opinion. Cultural and social conditioning, where the ‘because it’s Christmas’ lies, less so.  

I think it is important to ask ourselves why we do what we do and does it make us happy. This is true of most things and not just Christmas traditions.

In a nutshell, it comes down to personal choice, what makes me happy might not make you happy and vice versa. The key is finding what makes you happy and not comparing that to anybody else.

So this year, Harj and I challenged those ‘because it’s Christmas’ traditions.

Christmas Day we had chicken curry (bought the night before from our favourite restaurant), went for a walk, watched a movie and read a book. Boxing Day we went for a meal at a local restaurant with our son and his girlfriend. Gifts were stripped back to children only which were either cash or vouchers. 

There was no massive food shop where I had to navigate crowds and queues or work out how I was going to get it all in the fridge. I didn’t spend two days in the kitchen working out timings and cooking mountains of food which leaves you stuffed to the gills. Nor were we left with leftovers to eat for the following days. We didn’t buy each other unnecessary presents or succumb to the pressure of ‘we must buy a gift for’ our huge extended families. Oh, and we had no tree, door wreath, or decorations, so I won’t have to remember to take them down on twelfth night.

I can honestly say I was happy.

I think until grandchildren come our way, if they do, then this could be our new Christmas tradition. I’m already thinking about adding some warm weather and a holiday into the mix for next year. 

There is no right or wrong way to ‘do Christmas’, there is only your way. This time between Christmas and New year is a great time for you to reflect – did the traditions you followed this year make you happy? 

And if you’ve got any winter sun recommendations, drop them in the comments, I would love to hear them.

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash