I set the goal to create holiday traditions back in October when I thought that the upcoming year would unfold quite differently. I was struggling to be content living in Florida, far away from family and friends, so I challenged myself to set a few goals that would push me to make the most of my situation.
These goals included exploring an unfamiliar city, going under the sea, and creating holiday traditions, which I viewed as the most prominent of the three. I wanted to think of ways to spend the holidays meaningfully instead of feeling lonely, but it turns out that wasn’t needed since circumstances began to change before they arrived.
Thanksgiving happened to be the only major holiday I spent in Florida, and even then, I was beginning to feel my time in the south was winding down. I had already completed the screening interview for my current job and received word right before Thanksgiving that I was being moved on to the next step in the interview process. Feeling emboldened by this news, I saw the holiday less as an unhappy time spent away from family and more as a respite before jumping into the next, busy chapter of my life.
The day was lowkey and consisted of attending a turkey trot with my boss and his family and then heading home, where I made a breakfast skillet and spent the day reading, watching movies, and writing. It would have been hard for me to spend much of the day alone if I believed that the next year would be spent far away from my loved ones, but the excitement about a potential new job and move up north made the day feel like just another day off.
The following holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, were both spent with family and consisted of familiar traditions. They included eating pizza and chicken wings on Christmas Eve before opening gifts, having brunch at my sister’s house on Christmas Day, and not quite making it to midnight on New Year’s Eve.
I am now near family for this significant, new chapter of my life, and while I am happy to continue with the traditions we’ve created over the years, I want to think of ways to introduce new ones this year. Whether it’s hosting a Friendsgiving, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or going skiing on Christmas break, I am excited to breathe life into these familiar surroundings by adding traditions that can continue for the rest of my life.