This holiday season I'm looking forward to my extended family gathering in Connecticut on Christmas Day. For the longest time it was the ritual that we celebrated as an extended family and it could be relied on like clockwork. There was no question that everyone within a healthy driving distance would be in attendance. As our family has set up outposts across the country (and others have passed on), the guest list constantly changes from year-to-year. So now when we are all together it is that much more special.
I come from a family where our grandparents spent a lot of time telling us the importance of 'keeping the family together' and I think most of us take their directives seriously. So we delight in one another's company and simple things like sharing stories (and taking a whole lot of photographs). No we're not "The Waltons" but I just love this homespun, retro story.
I bring this up because the new economic realities are causing us to rethink just how we're going to approach the whole holiday season. And many of us become interested in creating more meaning in our lives than spending a whole of money we may not have the ritual becomes more important—ones you may have long celebrated and others you can start this year.
What I like about rituals is that they don't have to follow any specific rules, they should just represent something you want to do over and over again with those you love. It could be attending a football game, cooking together, feeding the homeless as a family or something simple like telling the family story. And this is not just something that is reserved for your relatives, if you're away from your family it is just as important to establish rituals with your friends. Don't wait for joy to find you, create some joy of your own!
So tell me this: What are your family rituals? What rituals would you like to start with your family or friends?