As you transition into retirement, you’ll undoubtedly have more time to relax and be able to dedicate more time to your hobbies, family, and friends. As your responsibilities decrease, the focus of your days may change. You’ll need to make adjustments in the way that you spend your days, money, and time. As a retirement coach, my job is to help you anticipate those adjustments and identify any stumbling blocks. Without much further ado, let me address the elephant in the room.
Retirement, just like any other big life change, can create a shift in how you celebrate the holidays and the role you play in holiday traditions. For example, you always hosted the family meals in your home but with downsizing, you simply don’t have the space for siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, significant others, and any pets that may be traveling with them. While changing cherished, long-standing family traditions can cause sadness and anxiety, you also have the opportunity to “pass the torch” to a younger generation as well as create new traditions.
Here are five things to consider as you reimagine your holidays.
- Change is not always a bad thing. As you think about what you’d like the holidays to look like, you have the opportunity to get input from younger family members on which traditions have been the most meaningful to them. These conversations may even create an opportunity for adult children to step into a larger holiday role relieving you of some of the pressure, work, and expense.
- Remember the reason for the season. Think about this year as an opportunity to return to a simpler holiday celebration packed with more meaning. For example, you may have always had a large tree filled with the many decorations acquired over years. Instead, you could opt for a smaller tree and gift great-grandma’s needlepoint angel ornament to the newly married couple of your clan or return the handmade ornaments that tracked a progression of school years to the now-adult child.
- Be flexible. Family traditions change as people move away, members have to split holiday time with in-laws, young children and pets are added to the family, and so on. For example, the two-hour full choir midnight mass may no longer work for an extended family with many young children and pets that will be left alone. Instead of forcing a tradition, look at adapting it to your needs. Is there any earlier, shorter service that may be better suited?
- Set (and keep) clear limits on gift-giving. Is your new lifestyle more minimalist? Does the thought of stuff you don’t want or need make you hesitant to purchase tons of gifts? Would you prefer an experience over a thing?
- Speaking of experiences, is this the year you want to forgo the “pomp and circumstance” of a traditional holiday and meet the fam at a ski resort for a long weekend of outdoor play? After all, this is your retirement and you’ve earned the right to relax, enjoy, and have fun.