Creating Rituals for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. From special foods, to the kids waking up on Christmas morning, and of course worship services – all imprint on our hearts, minds and memories through ritual. What do you remember most from your childhood holiday traditions?

The rituals I create for weddings help deepen the experience, so they feel the meaning both in the moment and in their memories in the years to come. It’s not all that different in every day life. Rituals create change. It’s a language of its own.

But the holiday season is not always happy time, although the media would have us think otherwise. Some people are alone, lonely, or even suffering during this time of year. When you don’t have the money to provide the ‘perfect holiday’ for your children, it can be painful. Or if your family is far away, or you are estranged from them, it can bring sadness and even depression. And the seasonal pressures can amplify those feelings.

What do I have to say about all of this? You won’t be surprised to hear my thoughts on it involve ritual. I say: create your own rituals. But this must be done consciously and it takes some planning. Let me give you a few ideas I came up with…

Create a list of personal goals and write each one on a separate piece of paper, or card of some kind. Do it now, and date them to be opened each morning throughout that Christmas to New Years time frame. Set a card on the table each night and when you have your breakfast each morning open the card to yourself.


Find an inspirational reading, light a candle each night, and read a short passage for yourself.

Learn to cook something new. Perfect it and cook it every year for the holiday.

Write letters, to yourself, family, friends, and especially meaningful consider writing to our military people overseas. Check out Operation Gratitude for more on that!

If this doesn’t resonate for you, here’s a more no-nonsense ideas. Clean out your closets and donate clothing you haven’t worn. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in 3 years, you probably should give it away. Make this your holiday undertaking every year!

Contact local shelters, halfway houses, or other programs you hold in regard and volunteer (and bring those clothes there, too)

Buy gifts for children in need. There are a lot of ways to do this, but always check first to see what is needed. Don’t assume! Here in the Poconos I recommend Women’s Resources and PATH (Pocono Area Transitional Housing). The post office has a program to read and respond to letters to Santa and you can buy the kids the toys they actually ask for.  There’s no middle person – it’s called micro-philanthropy, direct from you to the child.

The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. Use it to create something good for yourself or for the greater good. Find buddies to support you. Find people you can support. Start an online group or event. Come up with a ritual for everyone to do at the very same time in their different locations and then report back about the experience. Crowd sourcing isn’t only for monetary ends it can be for anything at all. Find the missing pieces in your holiday simply by asking others how they cope. You may be surprised at the world of love out there.

Thank you Susie Forrester for permission to use your beautiful photography.



This entry was posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives