The holidays are coming, and that often means falling into routine get-togethers with family and friends.
While there are undoubtedly cherished traditions that everyone looks forward to, others can be as welcome as stale fruitcake.
First, lose the guilt if you would rather take a pass on the communal viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” making holiday cookies nobody seems to want anymore or hosting that December party whose luster has faded. People who have “holiday burnout” shouldn’t feel bad, said Samuel T. Gladding, professor of counseling at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“People get tired of doing the same thing year after year, day after day, holiday after holiday,” Gladding said.
Instead, to avoid having the holidays feel as if they’re on autopilot, consider introducing new activities, adding a new dish to the holiday meal or modernizing decorations. These are just some of the ideas to tweak the routine to make the season feel less like the movie “Groundhog Day” and more like a chance to spend quality time together.
When considering a change, revisit why a certain tradition exists, said Francine Rosenberg, psychologist with Morris Psychological Group in Parsippany, N.J.
“Is it based on convenience? Where the family is located?” Rosenberg asked, adding that these are the kinds of questions to ask when considering whether a tradition still serves a purpose.
Although it may be tempting to completely jettison tradition, P.J. McGuire, owner of Modet, an etiquette and interpersonal skills training firm in Chicago, advises against anything too extreme.
“Try infusing the parts you do enjoy about the holidays with new ideas to make an updated family tradition,” McGuire said. “Revise the recipe no one really likes, change dinner to brunch or suggest a potluck at a fun location besides someone’s home.”
Here are a few more tips to liven up the holidays: