A New Home for the Holidays: 4 Paths to New Holiday Traditions

It used to be far more commonplace for extended families to all stay close to each other. Adult siblings stayed close, with or without their parents to unite them. Grandparents, cousins, in-laws and all the rest of the family were all just a quick trip away. While this is sometimes still true, for a lot of us, that’s no longer the case. Families are splintered far away from each other, and many of us, young people in particular, can’t afford or are otherwise unable to make a long trip home. This can sometimes make holidays feel lonely or disconnected.

Fortunately, there are ways you and your partner can connect to make your holidays together more meaningful. You can incorporate old and familiar traditions, make those traditions your own, and even find a way to create some brand new ones.

Celebrating with friends

“Friendsgiving” is the term for a group of friends gathering together on or around Thanksgiving, either in addition to or in lieu of time with family. But that’s just for one holiday — you can take that tradition and carry it further into the holidays. The holidays are about celebrating the people closest to you, and sometimes that means the people we see most frequently. Taking the time to be with mutual friends, whom you and your partner both love, can create a sense of connection and union that may be different from a traditional family, but just as meaningful.

Traditional holiday dishes

Nothing brings people together quite like food. Whether you decide to follow old family recipes to the letter or make them your own, shopping for food and cooking together is a great way to get closer together. It’s a great way to contribute something of your own and keep your individuality in your relationship. You can share your respective cultures and traditions with one another and reminisce about the past while still creating something new.

Lead-up traditions

For many people, the traditions in the time leading up to the holidays can be as important as the rituals of the holidays themselves. Take what is most meaningful to you and find a way to share it with your partner. Are there favorite decorations that you put out at a certain time? Is there music that you like to listen to in order to get you into more of a holiday spirit? Make playlists together or even for each other. Are there gift-giving traditions that are meaningful to you? Think thoughtfully about the traditions that really matter to you and bring them into your new home and life. It’s another way to share what really matters to you with your partner, while gaining a greater understanding of what really matters to them.

Connecting with loved ones far away

The holidays often bring up a great deal of nostalgia, which can be bittersweet. Take the time to make connections with the people you can’t see — for instance, sending pictures and creating cards that feature you and your partner and your life together is a simple way to share the most meaningful parts of your lives. You may also want to take the time to remember those lost who have had a great impact on your life; the holidays can be a good time to reflect, and share that experience with your partner.

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