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Tell the Story Behind Your Traditions

Avoid Stress and Disappointment During the Holidays

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Photo ©  Sheri  Stritof

Odie in a Wine Bottle

Photo © Sheri Stritof
Whether you are in an interfaith marriage, or you both belong to the same religious faith, it is important that as you decide on which traditions to follow during the holidays and life-cycle celebrations, that you both understand the meaning and story behind the traditions you want to celebrate.

While there is a comforting familiarity in returning to traditions that you've loved most of your life, the traditions and celebrations can become a source of tension and disappointment in your marriage if they aren't fully discussed and understood.

The story behind a tradition needs to be told so it has meaning to not only you, but to your spouse.

Example: The Easter Ham Story

As a little girl watches her mom prepare the Easter ham, she wonders why her mother cuts off both ends of the ham before putting it in the pot. So, she asks why, and her mom realizes that she doesn't know. That's the way her mother prepared the Easter ham.

So they call grandmother and pose the question about cutting off the ends of the Easter ham. Grandmother admits to not knowing either. She just prepared the ham the way her mom did it.

Their next call is to great-grandmother. When they ask her about her method of preparing the Easter ham, she laughs. Then she says, "It was the only way I could get the Easter ham to fit the small pot I had!"

Fun Traditions in Your Marriage:

  • Move the Wise Men all over the house until they finally reach the crèche on January 6th, Epiphany.
  • Put a big brown paper leafless tree on an empty wall on New Year's Day. As the kids do good deeds or get good grades or finish up their chores, have them put up a symbol. January could be snowflakes; February, hearts; March, shamrocks; etc.
  • Use a beautiful or unique plate to be used only on birthdays or other memorable events and only the special person can use it that day.
  • Find a gift to pass back and forth through the years by creating unique gift wrapping. Our daughter and I still do this with a stuffed Odie!
  • For your dinner prayer, find a goblet that could become your Blessing Cup. Fill it with grape juice, and pass it around during your dinner prayer.
  • If your Tooth Fairy likes treasure hunts, have your kids hide their tooth and leave a note under their pillow with hints on where to find the tooth.
  • Spend part of special holidays walking around your neighborhood and picking up loose litter and trash.
  • Reach out to others as a family during the holidays by writing letters to military personnel stationed far away, serving at a soup kitchen, delivering toys to families in need, or visiting the elderly who are alone.
  • Spend a portion of special days looking at old family photographs and share memories with one another and with your children.

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