Holiday Traditions and Rituals

Dec 05, 2022

Tis the season upon us. People are either excited about them or dread them. Where do you stand?

I embraced them and learned how to make my holiday season the best for me. Every family has its own dysfunction or drama, and it seems the holidays will bring out the best or worst in families. So it would be best to decide how you want it to go. 

Make your own traditions and rituals.

I often hear from clients that other families are having the best holidays, and I'm all alone, or my family is a bunch of bah humbugs. But first, take a closer look. Is that true? How has the behind-the-scenes been for them? Were the shopping and preparing done in fun or with angst or joy? Please step back and observe them with neutral eyes; you might see something different. Sometimes there are high expectations on how the holidays must look from one partner's perspective and the other not so much. It can potentially cause conflict, so it's crucial to ask each other these questions before the occasion occurs.

How do we want to spend our holidays and with whom?

What's the plan if we need to leave for any reason?

How long will we stay?

Who's driving if there is alcohol served?

Do the children need time to play at home with their toys?

How will we handle statements made to us that are considered hurtful?


 Have the conversation ahead of time, so you're both on the same page.

The holidays can be depressing for many, primarily if you are single and alone. When I was married, there were traditions we had as a couple. However, it was hell after my husband's death, and I was lost for many years when it came to holidays. I knew I was healing when I was looking forward to them.

How would they look?

I tapped into the feeling of Christmas I felt as a child and then physically created it around me. I had a tree initially but found it too much work for one person, so I found other decorations that represented the feeling. It has evolved over the years as I listen to my inner child's guidance, and so has my Christmas and every other ritual and tradition I create. It's not just the holidays; it's all days, birthdays, anniversaries, death anniversaries, and other essential days you deem important.



What are yours? Do you even have them? How do you enforce them?


Boundaries are for you, not other people. These are your limits on how you treat yourself, and others treat you.

When you begin the journey, your boundaries can be nonexistent, and you might feel like a doormat. That's a good indicator that something needs to change. When you are with others, how do you feel around them?

Comfortable? Uneasy? Loved? Feeling Disrespected? Is your body giving you signs? Tightness? Muscle pain? Shallow breathing? Tingling? Face flushed or feeling hot? Dread?

Pay attention and become the observer because the body speaks the loudest. What is going on at the time your noticing all these signs? Who is around you? What's the conversation intensity? Can you change the subject? That's always an excellent way to keep it calm around others. For example, if politics and religion are hot topics, don't discuss them on holiday and change the subject or leave the room.

Alcohol can play a part in it, and if you're hosting, have a non-alcohol event if the family tends to escalate when it's around. If people get unruly and refuse to adhere to your rules, then ask them to leave, or if you're a guest and uncomfortable, you go.

Here's a conversation changer: Did you know the Macy's Thanksgiving parade in the 1920s had animals in the parade, not balloons? How about those (insert your favorite sports team) doing? Ask people how they are doing. Let them talk about their accomplishments and ask them to share. Most love to chat about themselves. So please give them the opportunity. People are who they are, so it's best to guide the day to be as peaceful as possible. But, of course, healthy conflict and debate are always welcome.

Any diversion from hot topics is the key to a blissful day.

 And my final thought... 

It's perfectly ok to be sad and not want to attend any holiday functions. Honor your feelings. You can play sad songs, journal, make your favorite meal, read or watch TV and be alone. Sometimes that's the easiest way to get through the day. But remember, ask for help if needed; it's not ok to suffer in silence.

And remember, the next day is yours to conquer!

However you choose to experience your holiday or rituals, ensure they are welcoming, safe, and fun, especially for yourself!



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                                                     What is Mindset?

Could what you believe about yourself impact your success or failure? According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, beliefs play a pivotal role in what you want and whether you achieve it.

Dweck has found that it is your mindset that plays a significant role in determining achievement and success. So, what exactly is a mindset?

Mindset Definition:

The established set of attitudes held by someone.

There are two different types of mindset:

People with a fixed mindset believe that these qualities are inborn, fixed, and unchangeable.

Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that these abilities can be developed and strengthened by way of commitment and hard work.


                                               What Is Your Mindset?

Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? To find out, start by reading the following statements and decide which ones you agree with most:


  • People have a certain amount of intelligence, and there isn't any way to change it.
  • No matter who you are, there isn't much you can do to improve your basic abilities and personality.
  • People are capable of changing who they are.
  • You can learn new things and improve your intelligence.
  • People either have particular talents, or they don't. You can't just acquire talent for things like music, writing, art, or athletics.
  • Studying, working hard, and practicing new skills are all ways to develop new talents and abilities.

If you tend to agree with statements 1, 2, and 5, then you probably have a more fixed mindset. If you agree with statements 3, and 4, 6, however, then you probably tend to have a growth mindset.


                                        Can You Change Your Mindset?

While people with a fixed mindset might not agree, Dweck suggests that people are capable of changing their mindsets. Parents can also take steps to ensure that their children develop growth mindsets, often through praising efforts rather than focusing solely on results.


For example, instead of telling a child that he is "so smart," a parent might commend the child for their hard work on a project and describe what they like the most about the child's efforts ("I really like how you chose the colors for that picture!").


By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, adults can help kids understand that their efforts, hard work, and dedication can lead to change, learning, and growth both now and in the future.

Remember that your fixed mindset persona was born to protect you and keep you safe, according to Dweck. But it has developed some very limiting ways of doing that. So, educate it in the new growth mindset ways that it can support you: in taking on challenges and sticking to them, bouncing back from failure, and helping and supporting others to grow.



I’m a strong believer in therapy, mentoring and coaching both giving and receiving. I remember when I started therapy and/or coaching it was an exciting and scary time. It was the right direction for the next level of self- growth but my fear was speaking to me, big time.


                                                        Fixed Mindset       

What happens if I can’t do this? Will I be able to change? What if it doesn’t work?

See where my mind was taking me, not to a good place. FEAR!

                                                       Growth Mindset

I realized that I needed the right mindset for the process to be successful.

I found a cozy comfortable area with journal in hand, relaxed then took a few deep breathes to center myself and asked the question:

What does my FEAR look and feel like when I think about therapy and/or coaching?

Any excuse to stop the process

Lack of money and time

Problem too hard to face

Anxiety residing in my body, shallow breathing, body pains etc.

What would people think?

I would look weak



Therapy is for other people!

It’s too hard!



When I felt overwhelmed in the therapy/coaching process it was an indicator that I was off. I went directly to my list and would see the reason and immediately laugh at myself in a loving way, pause, take deep breaths and then do a reset!

I go to my toolbox of skills and use the ones that resonate with me. Affirmations are my go-to and are hanging on my walls. I give myself a daily pep talk to keep me focused and these are just some of the simple, yet effective tools!

Remember why I was doing therapy or coaching and reflect on how well it was going, even when it was difficult, and be proud of myself for doing the work. Growth Mindset!

Everyone and I mean everyone, needs some sort of help from another, we don’t do life successfully on our own, humans are not built to function in that way.

                            Everyone one of us had a journey to take.

  • It starts by accepting that we have both mindsets.
  • Then we need to learn to recognize what triggers our fixed mindset.

Failures? Criticism? Deadlines? Disagreements?

  • And we come to understand what happens to us when our fixed-mindset “persona” is triggered.
  • Importantly, we can gradually learn to remain in a growth mindset place despite the triggers


Coaching is no different!

You’re reading this which means you would like to change an area in your life and need some assistance in doing so, bravo for you! Together we will have a conversation that will take you to new places in your life. Let me help you uncover the mindset needed for this journey.