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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
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New Traditions

November 2007

The holidays are here again. I have had the hardest time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I normally love this time. My house is typically decorated, and I bounce around singing songs from the season. But this year feels different. I think that I have just figured out why. Our normal traditions are not being done this year. We are not doing our normal family things because another part of our family has requested us to come out to see them.

Now, none of this is bad, it is just different. And that is the point of this column. What makes the holidays feel like the holidays is our traditions. It doesn’t matter what those traditions are, whether it is singing Christmas carols or spinning the dreidel. But as we get ready for the holidays, we plan out our traditional meals and our traditional gifts and our traditional games and our traditional friends.

Trying new traditions is not a terrible thing. But it can cause discomfort. When you have two people coming together to begin to celebrate the holidays together, it can be difficult because you can have two very different traditions clashing. The first few holiday seasons can be very stressful until the couple has worked out what their traditions will be. This is even more difficult in a blended family. If you are in this situation, please be respectful of everyone’s traditions and open up a dialog that allows for creating a compromise.

Okay, then, I am ready to look at some new traditions and to get into the spirit! Eggnog, anyone?

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