When the holidays roll around, many Baby Boomers look forward to spending time with their loved ones and sharing in long-held family traditions. Yet families grow and change over the years, and that may mean cherished holiday traditions will have to evolve as well, especially when grown children are ready to take over the holiday hosting responsibilities. Whether this is a gradual progression or an abrupt change, Baby Boomers may find the holidays have become more bittersweet.
Baby Boomers who are accustomed to hosting the holiday dinners and family get-togethers may have different reactions when the time comes to hand over the hosting responsibilities. For some, this is a welcome change from the hours of cleaning, baking and other prep-work that goes into a holiday meal. Others may miss their hosting duties, feel a sense of loss over traditions that have changed, or struggle to find out where they belong in this new family dynamic.
Families who live in the same area can make this an easier transition by splitting up the hosting duties over the course of the holiday season. Perhaps one of the grown children can host Christmas dinner at their home, while another throws a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party. Baby Boomers who have grandkids may find this is a great time to start a traditional holiday breakfast or brunch at some point during the winter school break.
Baby Boomers who have relocated to a warmer climate or other retirement destination, may discover that it’s more difficult than they expected to give up their roles as holiday hosts. Traveling back to visit their families during the holidays will make them guests in their children’s homes, and that can be disconcerting after years of being the head of the family.
The best way to ease these uncomfortable feelings is often to simply talk about them. By admitting to feeling left out, Baby Boomers can open the door toward stepping in to help with the holiday preparations and hosting duties. Showing pride in their adult children’s hosting abilities will go far toward helping everyone enjoy the holidays and form new traditions together.
For families who live far apart, it may not be possible to gather everyone together during the holidays. This can leave Baby Boomers feeling confused, or even guilty, about where to celebrate. While it may be hard to let go of family traditions, there’s nothing wrong with spending the holidays apart. Today’s technology lets families easily stay in touch through phone calls, video conferencing and social networking.
Baby Boomers who have moved to active adult communities usually have no trouble finding holiday celebrations and activities. Many communities host at least one holiday event, or Baby Boomers can throw their own holiday party with their friends and neighbors. Living near peers who are going through the same transition can offer great support when coping with holiday blues.
Although Baby Boomers may have become accustomed to their own family traditions, the holidays can be celebrated in many different ways. Being open to change will make it easier to hand over the holiday hosting responsibilities. Having friends who are going through the same transition makes it easier to accept the change and enjoy creating new holiday traditions.