After moving to a new city three years ago, our family attempted to find some new holiday traditions in our new place.Long-time local residents offered numerous suggestions. We decided to try a holiday light show in a nearby city that promised to be an extravaganza. It was a drive-thru experience so we hopped in the care and headed up on a crisp night, ready to be awed. We were initially encouraged to discover a very long line of cars waiting to enter. This must be some show! Forty-five minutes later as we paid the entrance fee we were a bit less thrilled, but still ready to take in the sights. What followed was a huge disappointment. Perhaps we got started on the wrong foot. The first "display"was a lighted Christmas tooth encouraging kids to brush twice a day. This tooth was neither festive nor subtle.But it was an accurate representation of what was to come.
We puzzled at the attraction to this place. As we shared our experiences with those who had suggested it, they were appalled at our lack of appreciation. These people --many of them much cooler and hip than me--defended the light show with gusto. This holiday trek was a long standing tradition and people were adamant that it was special and important and wonderful.
No matter how modern or hip or spontaneous one might be, people still gravitate to meaningful traditions. As illustrated by the holiday light debacle, these traditions hold value in excess of the inherent worth of the event. They help connect us to something bigger than ourselves and our brains find rest from anxiety when we engage in healthy rituals. The holidays lend themselves to the creation of these kinds of meaningful traditions.
Do you have any holiday traditions with your staff or your residents? If not, CARES would love to partner with you to start one. And we promise it won't include a lighted Christmas tooth.