Tis the season for traditions. The advent calendar, the elf on the shelf, the family gatherings, cookie exchanges, holiday cards, holiday events, holiday decorations, et cetera et cetera.
Except, what happens when the traditions change? In our family, the two houses that always hosted the holidays - my aunt in New Jersey that hosted 30+ for Thanksgiving, and my parents that hosted Christmas - have both moved this year, leaving the rest of us feeling a little holiday homeless. We won’t be seeing a houseful of cousins to play fantasy family with (fantasy family being the game we made up (TM) where you draft a family member and then when they do something noteworthy (fall asleep at the table, double-dip) you earn fantasy points. It’s like fantasy football only with more wine, if that is even possible). So, we’ll have to come up with new traditions this year. We are grateful that we can.
My sister-in-law lost both her mother and brother this year - family that lived in upstate NY and were central figures in her branch of the family’s holiday traditions. This year, they’ll join us for Thanksgiving - perhaps the start of a new tradition?
Making room for new traditions might mean giving up some that no longer serve us. I gave up cards a few years ago. It felt more like an obligation than a tradition for me - and although I love getting holiday cards from others, I did not love sending them - the constant worry I was missing someone, the addresses I could not keep track of, the proper spellings of people’s children’s names, the time and cost all made it feel burdensome to me. It brought me no joy. I understand if we get excised from people’s lists for lack of reciprocity, but I Marie Kondo’d that and never looked back. After all, in this season more than any other, you can’t do it all.
This time of year, more than any other, it’s important to remember: perfect is the enemy of good. Said another way: done is better than perfect. And my favorite holiday mantra - and the one I feel deeply as the season arrives - “good enough”.