I want to start by wishing you all a very happy holiday season! As we enter this much anticipated week, my hope is that you find light and peace even during these difficult times. Even when the holidays don’t look quite like they used to. When I think about the topic of holiday traditions, I immediately think about all of the new and memorable traditions my family and I are experiencing due to the changes this year—all while still holding onto the ones we’ve made memories from over for years. While things look a bit different this year, I’m learning to embrace it, and find joy in the fact that these things have naturally become more localized and at home.
Here are some of the Hackman family traditions that I’d love to share with you. I share these in hopes that they encourage you to tap into your most cherished memories you’ve already made and inspire you to make new ones.
- Open Seats— In my extended family, when we have gathered together, we have always had empty chairs set out that represent those who have gone before us. Whether it’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles, those serve as a reminder of them and allow us to recognize how they have impacted our lives and what we have learned from them.
- Celebrating the advent— Within our immediate family, we practice our faith tradition of reading an advent devotional every night and then lighting a candle as we anticipate Christmas. This is a special tradition that our children enjoy as well.
- Finding the light— This tradition is new to our family this year, and quite literally represents finding the light in the darkness. We looked up neighborhood light shows in our neighborhood and toured them as a family. It was a lot of fun to see all of the effort that our neighbors have put into beautiful displays and over the top lights for our enjoyment.
These are just a few things that I have enjoyed doing with my family. These activities, new and old, have helped me feel a sense of calm. The darkness that is around us this time of year, and the things going on in the world can cause a heavy weight for a lot of families. I encourage you to embrace your individual feelings, as well as talking with your family about theirs. Individually and as a unit, name the feelings, the losses, and sit together and validate them. That in my opinion, is a worthy tradition.
I encourage you to use this time to literally, and figuratively light a candle of hopeful intention as we move forward through these hard times and feelings. I have found consolation in recognizing and naming the things that me, and my family have to be grateful for. We have each other, health, home and incomes. We move through darkness and we experience joy.
Through finding the light within my own family, I am able to look for ways to encourage others through service, compassion, and simply reaching out.
Find ways to spread your light this holiday season, as an act of service!