Holding Holiday Traditions Tight
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Holding Holiday Traditions Tight

Holding Holiday Traditions Tight

I have always thought that Florida is a funny place to celebrate the holidays. I am a proud native Floridian who generally prefers to be underwater, but during this time of year, I long to see red and yellow hues amongst the leaves and to feel a cool chill in the air. However, despite the muggy weather, I delight in carrying on holiday traditions and soaking up the magic of the season.

Last year’s holiday season was nothing short of strange. My husband and I spent Thanksgiving alone, quarantined after a COVID-19 exposure. We made a traditional meal for two and enjoyed a quiet day at home with our dogs. Christmas was modest, too, and felt strangely empty without the presence of my mom, who was unable to travel. Still, it was a nice day, and we even managed to squeeze in a quick camping trip before returning to work. 

A year later, things don’t feel much different than last year. After a stressful start to the school year, and observing news coverage of tragedies across the planet from the cozy comforts of my home, the world feels heavy on my heart. I practice gratitude, and always try to stay positive, but I deeply miss and worry about the health and wellness of my loved ones. 

I am hopeful, though, that this holiday season will bring the comfort that I so desperately need. And I am hopeful that life will feel more normal soon. My plan? This year especially, I will lean into my cherished holiday traditions.

I don’t need a big production; I want the simple traditions that I love most — preparing oyster dressing for Thanksgiving, selecting the perfect tree in lieu of Black Friday shopping, lighting the candles on the chanukiah with my husband’s family, and listening to cheesy Christmas music on repeat. Unpopular opinion: I love “Last Christmas” by Wham. 

There will be traditions that I miss this year, but it’s important to understand that as our lives change (whether due to navigating a pandemic or children growing up), it’s OK to make adjustments, and it is understandable that our holiday celebrations look a little different than they used to. 

I have always been impressed with children’s abilities to adapt and change in uncertain situations, so let’s take a page from their book. After all, life is too short to not celebrate when it doesn’t feel right. 

My suggestion is to lean into the ordinary this holiday season, enjoy the nostalgia, and be grateful for the simple things. And if you’re having trouble feeling festive, I promise that if you give it a chance, Wham’s “Last Christmas” will get you off your feet and put a smile on your face. Happy Holidays.


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