When it Comes to Family Traditions, Don't Sweat the When

Two men decorate a Christmas tree
Local media maven Natalie Webster gives us permission to forget the calendar.

It’s a time of year when we often reflect back, so that we can plan where we are headed. 2019 was a milestone year for my family, with two of my children getting married. Now all three of my children are adults, and my two stepsons are in high school and middle school.

2020 will be a year full of milestones as well. My youngest sister is getting married, my oldest child will turn 30, and I turn 50. My partner and I have five kids between us and a large extended family. Our traditions and celebrations are often not celebrated on or even near the actual date of a holiday or milestone, because it can be hard to get everyone together.

And this works for us on so many levels. What’s important to us is that we celebrate milestones with our family, whether it is on the day or not. Memories can be created on any day. This gives us so much freedom, as well as lowering everyone’s stress level.

One thing I never wanted my kids to feel was the stress of having to be in two or three places at the same time for a special occasion. My partner Tony and I have made a point to let all of our kids know that as long as we eventually get to celebrating a milestone or holiday, it doesn’t matter what day it is on. We can celebrate Christmas in January if we so choose.

For a long time, I wondered if we weren’t creating enough traditions around holidays and special occasions. A tradition of doing the same thing. Then, I realized, our tradition is to not be stuck in having to do something the same way each year or on the same day. We do it with so much less stress.

That is our gift to our children and family. We focus on creating the memories—not on the when.

Local media maven Natalie Webster specializes in experiences that often push her outside of her comfort zone, and helps others stretch themselves, too.