This weekend we got our tree and did our Christmas decorating. For many years I collected Santa Clauses – all sizes, shapes and colors. I would usually buy a new Santa every Christmas. I kept them out all year on shelves in the family room. My kids thought it was kind of creepy.
On Sunday, I took most of my Santa’s to Goodwill. It was time. Part of simplifying. I kept a few – the first Santa I got – a musical one. A wooden folk art Santa which keeps me focused on my dream of living in the country some day. A tall folk art style Santa that was a gift from a friend I’ve known for more than twenty years. A Santa in swim trunks which was a gift from a former boss who has since passed away. My all-white ceramic Santa which matches the white on my baker’s rack bar. And one small ceramic Santa that reminds me of a friend who does squirrel rescue. Now as I walk past each Santa, I remember the special people behind each special Santa.
It was both liberating and bittersweet. Getting a new Santa each year was a tradition. But you don’t need to keep a tradition alive if it no longer serves you or when it becomes an obligation rather than a joyful experience. Holding on to the past just because “we always did it this way” or you are afraid of “upsetting the apple cart” won’t serve your overall happiness.
So this Christmas, I will be strengthening the traditions that bring me joy and releasing the one’s that bog me down.