The holiday season is upon us once again and, like clockwork, we are inclined to think about “what we have and who we have,” which holiday traditions we will carry on, and what new memories and traditions we’d like to create. Customs, culture, and religion often guide our core values in deciding what the holidays actually mean to us and from that, we distinguish holiday activities that feel like formalities versus activities that create deeper meaning within us. So let’s explore that!
With the dust settling from the pandemic, many are realizing how little “stuff” we actually need, how much we already have, and most importantly, our need for human connection above all else. Yes, even as a self-proclaimed introvert, COVID-19 has taught me that I still NEED human connection, a sense of belonging, love and inclusion. We all do! Differences aside, humans need other humans, and this basic fundamental need has prompted most of us to seek out important others, especially what feels like the most, during the holidays and now post pandemic restrictions. I think I can speak for many people in that we have been desperate to return to normalcy while others wonder “what should the holidays look like moving forward, do we want to continue virtual gathering, what traditions are most important/worth changing, and who do we want to include in those ideas?”
When I think of the holidays, I picture my own childhood memories of gathering with relatives which entailed a house full of people, loud and busy, lots of food and drinks, children running around with likely a Broncos game playing in the background. Like many people, my intergenerational traditions and experiences have set my expectations of what family and celebrating the holidays “together” means but let’s be honest, things change, life cycles happen, people move, access changes and with each, new generation born, family dynamics come to feel different. I’ve found that family is no longer solely defined by nuclear, blood relatives; rather, family is more of a feeling, a warmth, and a sense of belonging that can be found in unexpected places and people, and that concept, is truly beautiful!
In fact, many find, “nontraditional families” are the new norm during the holidays and for some i.e. friends, neighbors, even coworkers have become our dearest sources of support. So no, holiday celebrations are not obligated to be rigid or have a cookie-cutter concept; rather, they can be as unique as the individuals participating. Dynamics can change, change is okay, and yes, there’s an opportunity to find joy in all of that! After all, no matter who is involved, life is meant to be lived together, with people who help us see the world in new ways and while I personally value my cultural traditions, incorporating new ways to enjoy the holiday season is exciting and brings richness to all.
So, if you’re interested in shaking it up this holiday season by trying something new, learning a new tradition or even exploring a different festive event, this is your sign to go for it, and here are some activities/ideas to help along the way.
- Name a star/give away a star at star-registration.com
- Price: starts at $29.90
- Visit the North Pole/Santa’s Workshop
- When November 5, 2022 to December 25, 2022
- Price: $30
- Learn to ice skate at Downtown Denver Rink
- When: Starts November 21, 2022
- Price: $9 to $12 per person (free if you have your own skates)
- Go tubing at Fraser Tubing Hill
- When: All winter long
- Price: $27 (or you can always sled/tube for free at Ruby Hill)
- When: November 17, 2022 to December 24, 2022
- Price: Range from $12 to $24 per person
- When: December 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
- Price: Free
- Catch another light show (there are many to choose from!) Check individual sites for show times and cost.
- Mingle at the Center on Colfax Open Art Studio Exhibition (Largest LGBTQ community center in the Rocky Mountain Region)
- When: December 24, 2022
- Price: General admission to Denver Art Museum
- Try the Polar Express train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum
- When: November 11, 2022 to December 23, 2022
- Price: $80 to $100 per ticket
- Visit the Cherry Creek Holiday Market
- When: November 17, 2022 to December 24, 2022
- Free admission
- Volunteer/give back to the community for the holidays
- Find volunteer opportunities at :
- Attend a cookie decorating and/or cocktail workshop
- Find a variety of events at com/d/co–denver/cookie-decorating/?page=1
In conclusion, sharing time together in both small and big ways helps us understand that we are not alone, that no matter our differences, we are people, we are needed and we can find meaning in embracing both old holiday traditions and by creating new memories to come!