Das Bunte Leben

Traditions and Expectations

Traditions & Expectations (text floating above many gift packages and under colorful bunting) ©Johanna Ringe 2021 www.johannaringe.com
Regardless of your faith, your religiosity, and your traditions: get through the Advent season well!

Whether waiting for the Child or waiting for the solstice, this waiting is usually not calm and tranquil. Despite the dark days, or perhaps because of them, there is generally a hectic pace on the streets and in the parlours. There are few reasons for this: the dates and traditions have been fixed for years, the people you want to give presents to have known you for a long time and the shops are usually open all year round, not just in the season. If you want to make things yourself, you can also start in good time.

Why do so many people become so unhealthily rushed in December?

Quite apart from the expectations we ourselves have of this time and of ourselves, there is something even worse: the expectationexpectations… Most of the time we no longer communicate with each other. We interpret, we assume, we believe we know what the other person expects of us. And then we try to comply. And we complain about ourselves when we don’t succeed or find it difficult.

We uphold traditions with which we do not identify at all.

Who says, for example, that festivities must be celebrated in the same way as they have been for decades? Just because the grandparents have decided to serve a certain dish at Christmas doesn’t mean the grandchildren have to do the same. Traditions can be changed. Just as you should regularly clean out your own habits, values, and wardrobe, you can also clean out family traditions.

Anything that is not in harmony with the wishes and values of the participants should also have no place in a celebration.

Whether sustainability or healthy food, the important things may flow into the planning. The same goes for cherished habits and traditions such as singing together, certain games or the decorated tree. Just because everyone thinks they absolutely want a certain dish served on Christmas Eve doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t secretly want something else. Expectations have to be expressed and changes are often quite reasonable.

Once again, a situation in which one thing above all helps: open and honest communication!
  • How is your lover supposed to know what you want if you don’t tell them?
  • How is your father supposed to know that you are sick of roast goose if you don’t tell him?
  • How will your daughter know that she can stay longer if you don’t tell her?
  • How will your aunt know that you need help if you don’t tell her?

To avoid bigger disasters, you must talk about all the little things. You are allowed to take yourself and your needs and wishes seriously. You are allowed to care for yourself as you care for your loved ones – that is self-care in a nutshell.

We also need to communicate that the rejection of a thing is not the rejection of a person.

Isa certainly likes to celebrate Christmas with Michelle even without having fondue. Peter certainly likes to celebrate the solstice with Paul, even if there is no bonfire this time, but a games evening. Hans surely likes to celebrate Hanukkah with Grete, even if there is something slightly different on the table this time. Not everything has to change… but some things may.

Free yourself enough from all these traditions that you can decide with a clear conscience to keep some of them.

And you don’t have to guess the expectations of others but ask them. That will make your life much easier, I promise.

Unterschrift Johanna (c) Johanna Ringe 2014 ff. www.dein-buntes-leben.de

P.S.: Which traditions would you like to break with? And which ones are you attached to?