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Holiday Traditions

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A Mediation Center holiday tradition–wrapping gifts at EastView Mall to raise money for Ontario ARC!

I’m probably the most traditional person I know when it comes to my favorite holiday–Christmas. I even look forward to simple traditions, like the sweet potatoes topped with pecans we only have once a year and the raucous gift exchange game with extended family on Christmas Eve.

I often hear families this time of year expressing concern about maintaining their holiday traditions for their children when divorcing. Traditions are comforting. They fill our need for reliability, an element which is often shaken when divorcing.

Yet, every year–like it or not–things change. For one thing, we never had that sweet potato dish in our family until my sister-in-law made it for the first time a decade ago. And we never did that wacky gift exchange until one of our family members skipped a year and came back from Minnesota with this new idea.

My point is, traditions haven’t always been traditions–someone started them. And, while it may be possible to maintain certain traditions, divorce often means that some of them will have to change. As a parent, you have the opportunity to show your children that it is possible to create new and special traditions.

With hopes for peace, inspiration, and a new sense of reliability, here are some “new” traditions to consider:

Thanksgiving movie night followed by going to see Santa on the Friday after Thanksgiving;

Reading “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” after lighting the Menorah;

Playing “The Message Game”–each person writes one thing about every person present they appreciate and then everyone takes turns reading the messages and tries to guess who wrote it;

Hunting for the “Santa Present” that Santa left on Christmas Day when the Child was with her other parent;

Giving each child a special ornament to hang on the tree and then presenting them with “their” ornaments when they move into their first place.

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