Rituals: The Family Glue - Deepstash

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An anthropologist explains why we love holiday rituals and traditions

Rituals: The Family Glue

Holiday rituals are a significant bonding process for the entire family, especially young children. The joyous or silly rituals, great food, gifts and reconnection become the real reason for being alive.

Group identity and belongingness play a huge factor in all the members of the family, including the in-laws. The festive rituals are perfect for family harmony and often have ‘peak’ moments that are unforgettable.

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Gift giving for children during Christmas started in New York City in the 1800s when the holiday was ‘reinvented’ as a family bonding time that integrated the various home decoration and shopping rituals.

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Remember what’s essential about holidays
Do you care deeply about your religion? Do you care most about spending time with your loved ones? Maybe certain traditions matter tremendously to you. Maybe you love the feeling of giving (of which, ...
Start to let go of the non-essential
Talk to others about letting go of the traditions you don’t like. Yes, letting go can feel painful at times, but think of the downsides of the things you’re letting go. Think of the simplicity you’re creating. And feel the relief of relaxing around letting go.
Let’s let go of the myth that you have to spend to give:
  • Gift your family with some small experiences, such as caroling, baking, watching It’s a Wonderful Life;
  • Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter.
  • Make meaningful gifts. A video of memories. A scrapbook.
  • Bake gifts.
  • Have an experience instead of giving material goods: do something fun together, go to the beach or a lake.
  • Give the gift of your expertise. Are you good at fixing cars? Teaching music? Teaching cooking? Magic tricks? Help or teach someone something you’re good at.