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For most families, the holidays are filled with time-honored traditions, many that have been passed down from one generation to the next. However, when the time comes for the next generation to begin carrying the torch for those treasured traditions, the transition can be a bit bumpy.
For some, spending the holidays as a guest and not a host can be a bit unsettling after years of orchestrating the festivities. With the right approach, handing down traditions and helping your children host their first holiday can bring its own set of rewards.
Hand down the heirlooms
Although they may be deeply beloved items, as you pass on hosting duties, go ahead and pass on the family pieces that make the holidays complete. Watching your children and grandchildren enjoy a bountiful holiday meal using the same china your own grandmother set out for the holidays is sure to elicit warm memories and still enable you to enjoy them as you create new ones. Similarly, if there are ornaments or decorations that have held a place of honor in your home through the years, gift them to your children so those same memories can be created anew. Shipping these items ahead of time will ensure gifts arrive safely and securely before your arrival.
Offer suggestions, not directives
When you’ve established a pattern for hosting activities, it can be difficult to watch someone else take a different approach, especially if you see mistakes being made that you learned the hard way. Just remember that you, too, had to learn the ropes. You might offer tips and ideas from time to time, but once you’ve handed over the reins, allow the new driver to do the navigating. You might find yourself the recipient of a few panicked calls – or you might not. Either way, remain helpful in your new role while letting someone else establish theirs.
Be a good guest
As you may remember, hosting a holiday celebration can be stressful. Do your part to ease the nerves by being a gracious guest. Offering to bring a small item such as the centerpiece flowers can go a long way. Also practice traditional etiquette, such as cleaning up after yourself and honoring household practices like removing shoes at the door. If you’ll be traveling out of town, look for deals on hotels and car rentals available to AARP members.
Share the history
As your offspring begin taking on their hosting duties, be sure to explain the significance of any traditions they may not know. They may be aware that you always served a certain dish, but not realize it all began with a story involving a cherished loved one.
Handing over the holiday hosting role can feel a bit unsettling, but remember that passing on that responsibility gives you the opportunity to enjoy the festivities from a whole new vantage point.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.