Traditions can be stressful

Well, we’re in it now. You might have been resisting - maybe you’re not a fan - but the holiday season is in full swing and the countdown is on.

So now it’s all about the festivities, isn’t it? So much to do - decorations, gifts, a tree, parties and treats galore.

We all get wound up in the traditions:

  • whether to keep them
  • how to continue them,
  • how to make our own as we grow up.

Christmas spirit in the modern world can be a stressful thing, it turns out.

Full disclosure: I am a Believer. I hear the jingle bells, and I have met Santa (yup, for real).

I do not put up decorations in early November, but I do think of Christmas giving all year long. But I have only my husband here; we have no visitors for the holidays and haven’t in most of the 14 years we have lived here.

We have worked on Christmas before, catering for another family instead of cooking our own meal. Working in the hospitality industry, our Christmases together have mostly been that way.

When we worked for Fairmont Hotels, we worked long hours through the holiday season.

Our Christmas is not a picture postcard. But then, any memorable Christmas story is full of awkward moments and impediments. Perseverance is a key component in Christmas spirit. A a believer in any good cause will tell you, it’s worth the effort.

Traditions are a way of keeping memories alive and passing them through the generations. They aren’t meant to cause strife. If trying to live up to the Christmas you remember is stressing you out, then it’s time to build a new memory with loved ones.

If you have tried and failed at recreating old magic, then gather all the usual suspects together and laugh about it as you share the wonder of a new moment. (If you are just worried about how to properly cook the turkey, check out this fun video full of tips.

Even if you are happy with your version of the holidays, there is pressure to do more, be better.  Charity is never more important than during the holiday season, we are told.

In the interest of a less stressful season, I’d like to offer the perspective that it works better anyway when we give out of desire rather than obligation.

Give what you can, when you can, how you can.

The tradition of giving started small, like all Christmas traditions. Let’s remember that and set ourselves up for success. Today’s world makes it easier to connect through online messages and video calls – reach out to a friend or loved one that you haven’t seen in a while.

Sharing is easier too; donations of all kinds are accepted with organizations big and small. A pair of socks or mitts, a can of soup, a few coins in the kettle – it all adds up.

Charities also work online, and partner with other agents to provide all manner of giving options (e.g. enter to win a prize, and have your money support a cause, or donate to a crowd funding enterprise and receive a share of the experience).

Maybe your loved ones don’t want to receive a donation on their behalf as a gift. But can you share somehow? It doesn’t take much holiday spirit to make an effort and get involved on a bigger scale.

From adding a new dish to the Christmas table to incorporating a new way of connection in our lives, we can shape our traditions for the future. Keeping Christmas spirit alive and well isn’t about more gifts or a bigger tree, it isn’t about checking all the boxes of things we’ve always done.

Share a cookie. Give a hug. Smile at a stranger. Believe those things will make a difference. And then just wait to see what happens.

Wishing you all the best of the season.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories