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Making memories that make sense: find holiday traditions that bring you joy


Christmas and traditions: they go together hand-in-hand.

The holidays are the time when we get to make beautiful family memories. Every gift is perfectly wrapped, shortbread is effortlessly baked, the halls are decked and trees are trimmed to perfection, right? 

Well, no.

With this season comes pressure to try to make our holidays look like the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine. Often as mothers, we feel the burden to create these ‘magical holiday moments’ for our children. We carry out traditions, commit to events, bend (and blow) our budget and go through the motions to create a holiday experience that meets a set of expectations which just don’t work for us.

So how can we make the holidays a special time for us and our loved ones without getting overwhelmed?


Here are 3 ways you can rethink your holiday traditions and create new ones.


  1. Boundaries: know what you WILL do and what you WON’T do.  There will always be someone who insists you must make homemade gingerbread houses from scratch, participate in the office gift exchange or dress up for that holiday dinner. But if you can express your limitations to yourself and to others you’ll find it’s easier to say no to requests that aren’t fun and meaningful for you.


  1. Ensure your traditions line up with your values. Sometimes we adopt ideas or habits based on how we were raised or what our friends do. It’s time for you (along with your children) to decide which of these matter to you and which don’t. If you find yourself dreading parts of the holiday season, cut them out or rethink them. 

“My family is typically eco-conscious, but we realized one Christmas morning that we were surrounded by wrapping paper and plastic ribbons! We decided to scrap the whole wrapping thing, and to think about other ways we could reduce waste during the holidays.”   - Amy, YWCA staff

  1. Create new traditions. It’s important to have traditions to look forward to over the holiday season, but the fun is in deciding which ones! Would you like to make handmade gifts for family members? Wear pj’s all day? Volunteer an afternoon helping others? Skip the work party and watch your favorite Christmas movies instead?  Whatever you choose, when your children enjoy them alongside you it makes these experiences even more meaningful.  

“My young son was all about presents, but we want him to grow up with the realization that so many families can't afford gifts - that it's not like that for everyone. For Christmas and other special occasions he now donates $10 from his savings to a cause of his choice.”    - Puspa, YWCA staff

The best reflection of the holidays isn’t found on a Pinterest page. The best traditions are the ones you find joy in doing. So what are you waiting for? Ditch the traditions that don't make sense and create some new ones with your friends or family!


Spread joy this holiday season

The holidays should be a time to celebrate with family and friends. But for a single mother struggling to provide the basic necessities for her children, it can be a season of stress and heartache. Thousands of families will go without the simple holiday traditions of food, gifts and merrymaking.

This month, we’re asking supporters to spread joy by making a one-time or monthly donation to YWCA Metro Vancouver. And there’s more, if you make a tribute donation in the name of a loved-one we’ll send them this beautiful hand-painted card by local artist Jazmin Sasky, as notification of your gift.

Jazmin Sasky

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