Retirement can change many things in your life – hopefully for the better. You have more free time, you’re able to relax, your responsibilities go down and life is yours to enjoy. As aspects of your life shift to reflect your new reality, you may find yourself rethinking ways of celebrating the holidays, too.
“Family traditions are some of the best parts of the holiday season, but sometimes retirement makes it difficult to hold on to some of those traditions,” says Doris Lea, Executive Director of Hidden Springs of McKinney. “For example, you may have downsized from your large family home to a smaller household in a retirement community like Hidden Springs of McKinney. This may mean you’re unable to host a large Christmas or Hanukkah gathering.” Or perhaps you’ve embraced a more minimalist lifestyle and are hesitant about buying scores of gifts (or receiving many that you don’t want or need).
Doris says that retirement, just like any large life event, can shift roles in family traditions and cause patterns to change. “It’s a normal progression for younger family members to want to start their own traditions, especially if they have little children,” she says. “Adult children may also wish to take over some of the holiday traditions in order to help senior parents out.”
Although there may be some angst or sadness about changing up a long-standing family tradition, Doris suggests looking at this as an opportunity to make the holiday season even more meaningful for you and your loved ones. “Change isn’t inherently a good or a bad thing,” she says. “How you define it is up to you. By trying new things as you launch this new chapter of life, you may find yourself developing new traditions that will last for years to come.”
There are seemingly endless ways to start new holiday traditions in retirement. Here are some of our favorites.
Think about the reason for the season.
It’s easy to go through the motions when you’ve been celebrating a holiday the same way for years on end. If you feel as if things have gone a bit stale, or you’re feeling less than holly jolly about the upcoming festivities, consider taking the time to think about why this tradition or that started for you in the first place. What was the ultimate goal that the tradition celebrated? By thinking about the real reason why you keep a particular tradition, you can more easily distill the emotions and feelings that are behind the actions. This can help you more easily twist or replace tradition with minimal conflict. For example, if being together with all your friends and acquaintances is what’s most important, don’t try throwing a huge, exhausting party – consider hosting a holiday brunch while keeping the evening meal to a small, intimate gathering.
Flex to fit your new reality.
The needs and expectations of family members are always changing as our lives evolve. Family members move away, downsize or have to spend holidays with in-laws. Instead of trying to force-fit a square peg into a round holiday hole, reset your expectations. Maybe that 5 p.m. church service no longer works because that’s the dinner hour for babies and small grandchildren. Think about what works for you and your family, and coordinate traditions around your needs instead of the other way around.
Adopt new traditions in honor of blended families.
Traditions may change as family dynamics shift. Divorce or remarriage may have become a reality in your family – maybe even for you, the retiree. Including “bonus” family in holiday traditions is important, as is adopting “new” traditions to help everyone feel more welcome. If this is a situation you find yourself in, reach out to your new or blended family members to come up with ideas on how to honor and celebrate your new relationship. How can the holidays be used to bring everyone closer together?
Let’s face it – the holidays are splendid, but they also create a surfeit of trash. Wrapping paper, plastic toy shells, candy wrappers, food scraps … it’s estimated that we throw away 25% more trash during the holiday season than we do during the rest of the year. That’s approximately 1 million extra tons per week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! Since many seniors end up minimizing their lifestyle during retirement, why not use this stage of life to turn over a new (green) leaf when it comes to holiday celebrations? Instead of using plastic or paper plates, consider using compostable dishes and reusable silverware. Or consider purchasing CO2 offsets instead of more traditional gifts. You can also shake up the gift-giving scene by giving handmade or recycled gifts that keep wrapping materials out of landfills.
They say ‘tis better to give than to receive, and the holidays are the perfect time to give back to your community. Volunteer your time at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or other organization that helps to spread holiday cheer at this time. This can be a great new tradition to share with grandchildren and other young family members.
Be loose with your celebrations.
Who says that you have to celebrate holidays on the exact date? As families grow, move and shift, it can be a lot of headaches to try and schedule celebrations on the “actual” day. Instead, take a loose approach and celebrate with your family when the time is convenient for you. Forget what the date says on the calendar – whether you celebrate on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, or another time entirely, the holidays can be whenever you want them to be. Remember, being with family and those you love are what’s most important, not the actual calendar date.
Get away from it all.
It’s your retirement. You’ve earned the right to relax – and that includes stepping away from a traditional holiday gathering and redefining what this time of year means to you. Want to take a trip to Europe to see how they celebrate the holidays in Prague? Or would you prefer to hole up in a cabin in the mountains far away from civilization? It’s your choice and your prerogative. Sure, it can be a big shake-up from your “we’ve always done it this way”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. This is your chance and your time to figure out what the holiday season means for you, and how you want to celebrate moving forward.
For more information about our new community in North Dallas, please contact us at 972-483-0234.
Luxury Living in North Dallas
At Hidden Springs of McKinney, we understand how important location is to North Dallas seniors who are looking for an engaging, enriching retirement lifestyle. Located in McKinney, Texas, we are close to medical centers, arts and entertainment, outdoor opportunities and everything else you love about this area. Seniors who choose to make us their home can enjoy a range of trips, opportunities and activities while living their very best life thanks to our innovative focus on wellness.
Active Retirement Living for a Healthy Tomorrow
The secret to a life well-lived awaits you at Hidden Springs of McKinney. Envisioned and developed by Madison Marquette, a company with a 25-year track record of investing in vibrant communities and a stellar reputation for developing luxury residences, you’ll discover all the possibilities your retirement brings … as well as the confidence of knowing your future is secure.
Our beautifully appointed, active retirement living community is created for those who expect more out of life. Luxury living, gracious services, resort-quality amenities, engaging programs and stunning apartments in 15 floor plans are just a few of the benefits awaiting you. And with assisted living and memory care services offered on campus, you can retire with complete peace of mind, knowing that if needs change, the care you deserve is right at home.
To learn more about Hidden Springs of McKinney and discover The Secret to a Life Well Lived, call or visit us today. We’d be happy to schedule a tour and show you just how much our location can make your retirement experience exceptional. Call us today at 972-483-0234.