No matter what our circumstance, we can all find something for which we can be thankful— any time of the year, but especially now, during the holidays.
- We live in arguably the greatest country in the history of the world, warts and all.
- We enjoy more freedoms and personal choice in our daily lives than practically any other place on Earth.
- We live at a time when technology is making life easier than ever.
- Medicine is extending lifespans and enhancing our quality of life in later years.
- From the office to the home front, people are more mobile and more connected than ever before, which means we get to work with and visit friends and family more frequently and conveniently than ever before.
With all of this (and more) to be thankful for, what’s left to make this holiday season more memorable?
Holiday traditions root us in family customs. They are a link to the past, to all that was and is comfortable and good in our lives—things such as always going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, gathering around the television for marathon sessions of football, celebrating Hanukah by enjoying traditional latkes and playing with dreidels, and trimming the Christmas tree and singing Christmas carols. Traditions are reassuring to us—they are like a warm and fuzzy blanket on a cold night.
But to make a holiday more memorable—to make this year’s gathering more memorable than last—sometimes you have to switch things up. If you do the same thing every year, annual get-togethers tend to blend into one another, losing distinction.
- Consider alternating where you celebrate Thanksgiving dinner every year: one year, Grandma’s house, the next your parents, and so on. Try it. New settings lead to new experiences.
- Switch up Holiday foods. Sure, you need to have the old favorites that everyone has enjoyed for years, but don’t be shy about introducing something new every now and then. Ideas for holiday recipes abound online.
- Rather than hunkering down for an afternoon/evening of football after the Turkey has been demolished or the holiday gifts have been opened, try going out for a walk in your neighborhood. Who knows who you’ll run into? Better yet, volunteer to do something in your community, such as in your local church or homeless shelter. Getting out and getting the blood circulating is a great way to overcome sluggishness brought on by overindulgence.
- Tell family stories around the dinner table or in the family room. With multiple generations under one roof and in one room, holiday gatherings are a great way for the older generation to pass on family stories to their children and grandchildren. Consider recording the speaker. You and the rest of the family will surely treasure being able to hear him or her for years to come, even after the speaker is gone.
- Give your holiday gift-giving a theme. This year, it could be “retro,” next year it could be “high tech,” and the next “tropical.” You get the idea, and you might be pleasantly surprised that such an approach actually makes gift selection easier!
What ways can you think of making your holidays more memorable? How have you made your annual holidays unforgettable?