It also provides an insight into why, despite warnings and requests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other infectious disease experts to stay home, some people disregard recommendations and travel to visit family and friends on vacation – something what Dr. Xygalatas says himself says. “This is how you see how important rituals are to us,” he explains. “There are many people who risk their lives to take part in them.”
Is it time for a reset?
Not everyone shares this enthusiasm for the holidays and the rituals that go with them. According to Dr. King’s holiday traditions feel more like captivity than something to celebrate to some.
The good news, she says, is that this year we have an opportunity to recapture the holidays and find new ways to restore stability and a sense of belonging by starting our own traditions. For example, if you’ve recently lost someone close to you and fear certain vacation activities because it brings their absence to the fore, we can take advantage of the unusual 2020 vacation season.
“I think there is an opportunity right now for all of us to have this floating reality and create our own traditions based on what is more comfortable,” she explains. “Oddly enough, I think that – especially if you’ve had tough vacation experiences – they can be more authentic in some ways.”
Of course, you don’t have to have suffered to want to start your own traditions. For example, many people in their thirties and forties who now have families of their own may still feel compelled to travel to their hometown each year and recreate the holidays of their childhood. This may make their parents happy, but it also makes it difficult for them to create traditions as their own family unit.
Inventory of family traditions
Communication tools like Zoom and FaceTime give us the opportunity to make virtual visits with family and friends that weren’t so common a decade ago. However, 2020 didn’t just show us how convenient it can be to have the technology to see your loved ones face-to-face. We also learned that using this technology can be stressful.
Dr. Eugene Beresin, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Clay Center for Young Sane Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, recommends taking stock of your typical type first rather than trying to recreate your family’s entire vacation agenda on Zoom Traditions and Set which make the most sense to continue remotely. This allows you to devote your time and energy to the activities that are best suited for virtual participation.