Extend the mistletoe of good tidings this holiday season by sharing your holiday traditions with someone in your Senior Living community.
From decking the halls and stuffing the stockings to trimming the tree or lighting the menorah, holiday traditions have different meanings for each of us. Some sacred, some fun, some sentimental, and all designed to create meaningful and memorable experiences. Sharing your time-honored holiday traditions in your Senior Living community if fun and easy with new and old friends!
Sometimes, due to changes in circumstances, we may be tempted to give up on some long-standing traditions. Perhaps the season comes with an element of sadness — the loss of a spouse or the inability of family to gather together because everyone’s sprawled across the country.
Instead of abandoning the tradition, why not spread some holiday cheer to others? Even if you have to modify a tradition slightly there are still plenty of good reasons to keep old traditions alive or create new ways to celebrate the holidays.
Here are four reasons for sharing holiday traditions in your Senior Living community:
Part of the reason we have traditions in the first place: Traditions bring people into deeper relationships through a shared moment or special event. There’s no hard-and-fast rule that says you can’t invite a friend or neighbor to share one of those moments. Besides, sharing with friends has benefits…
Heal the Holiday Blues
Maybe a friend or neighbor is dealing with the loss of a spouse or loved one. Perhaps you find yourself battling the holiday blues this season. Either way, psychologists say that an effective way to alleviate loneliness during the holidays is to get involved and find connection.
Chief medical editor for MedicineNet.com, Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD writes: “Those suffering from any type of holiday depression or stress may benefit from increased social support during this time of year.” Stöppler suggests several ways to combat the blues. She lists spending time with supportive people, making new friends, or volunteering to help others as simple yet powerful ways to reduce holiday stress.
Bring a Bounty of Blessings
One of the best gifts you can offer to a neighbor — especially someone who will spend the holidays without family — is the gift of connection. Invite a neighbor (or long-lost cousin for that matter) to participate in one of your traditional holiday festivities.
Everyone benefits. The blessings flow both ways.
Create New Cherished Memories
Although hard to admit, some holiday undertakings may have become less of an enjoyable time of fellowship and more of a chore or duty. That in itself can lead to unwanted stress. “Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way,” recommends Stöppler.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to change the tradition as long as you keep the connections. Changing, adapting, or completely recreating a holiday tradition may bring some much-needed life back into the proverbial party.
Whether new or time-honored, some traditions are simple to share with anyone:
- Holiday cards: Spend the day creating homemade cards or writing a holiday wish before sealing, addressing, and stamping envelopes. There’s bound to be a few humorous stories about great uncle Waldo
- Care packages: Whether you put together packages for the homeless shelter or small gift bags for neighbors, the joy of giving boosts any mood
- Christmas cookies: Baking and decorating is more fun with friends (and delicious, too!)
- Secret Santa: Organize a secret friend gift exchange and get together one evening in a communal area for laughs and memories galore
- Attend a religious service together
Now we can circle back around to the original purpose of traditions: to build bonds and nurture relationships. And by sharing a tradition with someone new, your cup will overflow with glad tidings and holiday cheer.