Combining the Old and New into the Now

Our Holiday Wreath

One thing you learn early on as an expat is that in order to celebrate the holidays, you have to recognize what rituals and traditions are absolutely essential.

Yesterday an article I wrote on this very topic was published at http://www.iamexpat.nl.

Certainly non-expats who move away from family and friends have to deal with similar issues. It’s just that as an expat, it often can be much harder (and depending where you are, nearly impossible) to actually celebrate holidays with all of your rituals and traditions intact.

And that’s okay.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to identify the most important ones. What I’d call the ‘deal breakers’. If you didn’t do or have or eat or drink or sing or wear these, deep down inside it just wouldn’t be that particular holiday.

Surprisingly our list for Christmas rituals changes a bit each year. Some of the things we used to do, foods we used to make, even some of the cookies we used to bake a few years ago are gone.

It isn’t that they weren’t fun or festive or important. It’s just that times have changed. We have changed. And our traditions change a bit with us. We’ve added new things to do or see or make. Things that reflect where we’ve been and where we are now.

Combining the old and the new isn’t a novel concept. We all do it, sometimes without wishing to. It’s whether or not we take the time to discern what is truly important that matters.


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