Kissing at midnight, throwing lavish parties, determining a resolution, watching the ball drop – everyone has at least one family tradition that immediately comes to mind when thinking about ringing in the new year. For many people, the holiday season is the most nostalgic time of the year. According to Krystine Batcho, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Le Moyne College, nostalgia often creates a sense of belonging during the holidays, which is very important for human beings.
“When it comes to the holidays,” Batcho says, “people who have disruptive lives find they can invent new customs which become their new family traditions and help them feel like they belong.” If this is your first holiday season post-divorce or separation, you may be planning to steer clear of family traditions for the sake of your children; however, research suggests that nostalgia is not necessarily about wanting to go back to the past, but instead, nostalgia actually has the power to help shape the present. Continuing to implement the family traditions that mean the most to you and your children may help them to cope with the past, enjoy the present, and encourage a bright future.
Focus on the positive, and use memories that are meaningful to your children to help them do the same. Invoking old traditions while creating new ones will help you and your kids adjust to the new normal.
“Nostalgic longing offers more than a coping strategy or temporary fix. It propels us to want to build and nurture our current social lives too, according to a series of seven studies published in 2015 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.” – Jennifer Breheny Wallace, The Wall Street Journal
Alexa P. Carini is a family law attorney with Hatcher Law Group. In addition to representing clients in divorce and property distribution matters, she also assists clients with child support, child custody and other domestic related issues.