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30: Creating Traditions That Spark Joy

Tradition is all around us. Whether you’re eating Chinese food on Thanksgiving, lighting fireworks on the 4th of July, or throwing Christmas potatoes (yes, potatoes!), everyone has their own way of celebrating throughout the year.

What’s your favorite tradition? What new traditions do you want to adopt and which ones do you want to let go of? This week, Krystal muses about the power of tradition and how it brings us together.

If you’d like to read more about Christmas potatoes and how to adopt the tradition for yourself, check out this article:


Think meditation is hard? Do me a favor. Take a slow deep breath in and now breathe out. Congratulations. You just meditated. Hi, I’m Krystal and Jakosky and this is Breathe In, Breathe Out: a weekly mindfulness and meditation podcast for anyone ready to own their own shit and find a little peace while doing it.

Hello and welcome back to Breathe In, Breathe Out. I am Krystal Jakosky and this week I just really wanted to talk about traditions because we are in the time of year when people are going and doing things, going nuts with parties and expectations and buying gifts for people and just going, doing, running. So we’re in this time of year where everyone is really trying to get things done and make the impossible happen. 

And in so doing, we end up running ourselves into the ground. We get so worn. So exhausted. Our energy is depleted and we are still trying to complete another thing. Do another thing, make things even better or grander. We’re trying to deal with Halloween and the kids trick or treating or preparing for tricker treaters to come. We’re getting ready for those family Thanksgivings. We’re trying to buy all the presents for Christmas. We’re trying to go to all those staff parties and the friends parties and the family and, and the expectations that are on us from ourselves, from family and friends, from society. It’s almost like the entire world speeds up and it’s this frenetic kind of panic energy of “we have to achieve because this is what’s expected.”

And in all of that, I think we have an opportunity to change things around. One of my traditions when it comes to the end of the year is actually, I try to have most of my Christmas shopping done by September, October. I try to have all of the gifts that I need to worry about that I really want to ensure that I give, because I am thinking about these specific people finished, packed up and maybe even wrapped by early October. And I do that because it means that as I move into the second half of October and November and December, I’m not as stressed out. I’m not as panicked. I don’t have to go out shopping. I don’t have to worry about this or that there might be somebody that comes up or I might see a gift and think of somebody and wants to go ahead and get that. And yet there’s just not the added pressure and I’m not out there shopping when everybody else is frantic trying to shop to it may sound a little weird, but I tell you it’s fantastic. And I actually learned this from a girlfriend in high school, his parents, they were often done in August. Now. I started in July, August, and I finish a little bit later and yet it feels so good. So that is a tradition of mine to the point where my family will ask me, they’ll joke around and they’ll tease me. “Hey Krystal, have you started your Christmas shopping yet?” “Absolutely. I have. In fact, let me tell you, I’m already done.” 

I wanted to talk about some of those fun traditions. I want to encourage everyone to find some traditions that we love, that we look forward to that kind of uplift us a little bit and fill our cups more than they drain them. Those traditions that we’re excited about. And we want to, instead of have to, when I became a young mother and moved out of the house, I was like “now it’s my turn.” And I had to do new traditions. We moved away. We moved eight hours away, 500 miles away from regular family. And as a young family, it was really hard to get home for Christmas. So we had to build our own traditions so that I could feel like there was some sort of connection to home and family, because I would get very melancholy when I was younger.  

For example, I have a huge family, and I remember that there were so many of us, we would take over the church cultural hall and half of the cultural hall would be set up with long tables and chairs. And the other half of the cultural hall would have volleyball and basketball. And all of the kids would be playing and screaming and running around. And all the adults would be sitting in and chatting and catching up, or they would be in the kitchen with the three ovens and the microwaves, and they’d be cooking this huge meal and you’d have 200 people at the church. And this was every Thanksgiving. I remember it very fondly as this opportunity that we got to get together. And yet once I was a new parent and we moved away, I didn’t have that connection anymore. I couldn’t have that giant Thanksgiving experience.  

So I had to figure something new. How am I going to change this? What am I going to do? So I would play around when I had the Thanksgiving meal, which that’s a lot to cook for mom and two very young kids that don’t understand why there’s so much food on the table and your husband. So I would do different foods. Now, some people want to go out for Chinese on Christmas. I ended up making chicken enchiladas for Thanksgiving because it was something completely different and it was easier, but it was something that we didn’t make all of the time. And so it was fun. And that’s what we would do. So we made our own tradition. What different food, instead of doing the whole big thing, what fun, unique, new or delicious meal would we like to have this year? I was constantly trying to figure out what traditions I wanted to either keep or change or alter.  

I always ended up decorating on Thanksgiving and I know a lot of people do that. Thanksgiving day, you have your big meal. And after that you put the tree up and while everybody’s there together, you’re decorating the tree and you’re putting all these ornaments on it. You are getting ready for a beautiful Christmas season. My sister, instead of doing a tree every other year, they actually build their own tree. And it’s often out of recycled materials. So one year they have a regular tree and the next year, what are you going to build it out? Is it going to be pipe cleaners? Is it going to be wrapping paper on the wall? Is it going to be PVC pipe? Is it going to be foil? What do you as a family want to make your tree out of this year? Just a fun little tradition.  

So I’ve talked to a few people about different traditions, and I just want to share some of them with you because they just sound like fun. And maybe some of them you want to start pulling in and doing on your own. And maybe you actually have some traditions that you would love to share with us on any of our social media. That way other people can join in on the fun and do something new. 

So here goes, one of my friends does a singles’ Thanksgiving and a singles’ Thanksgiving is when a bunch of friends who don’t have any other attachments get together and you might do a potluck. You might do a regular meal, like the turkey and all of that stuff. And then you play games and you just enjoy the fact that you guys are all together. You’re grateful for the connection and you get a little rowdy with some food and games.

With my kids I started a tradition where we would give them a package on Christmas Eve, and then they would open it Christmas Eve. And that was always their PJ’s. They would sleep in those. And then we’d get up in the morning the next morning. And then you open your Christmas gifts in your Christmas. PJ’s that you got the night before. It was always fun for me to go shopping. And what kind of PJ’s do I want to get for me? And then what PJ’s will match mine for everyone else in the family. So I got to do that and I had fun with it because it was my little, oh, these look cozy, delicious. So I guess everyone else has to have this kind of this year.

Lights and decorations. This dear sweet lady that I met over 20 years ago, decorated her house for all of the different holidays. And you would go to her house and it didn’t matter what holiday it was. You just knew that there were going to be hearts everywhere for Valentine’s day. And there were going to be St. Patrick’s day hats and four-leaf clovers and whatnot, everywhere. Or 4th of July, she took the tradition every season. That was just something she loved to do to move through the year and to look forward to the next celebration. And she would change all of her decorations. And maybe you decide that you want to change lights around the house. Maybe you’re someone who wants to have a Christmas tree up year round, because then you don’t have to put it up and take it down. And then year round, you just change the decorations on the tree, and maybe you love sports, and you decide that for football season, there’s going to be footballs and your favorite team jerseys all over that tree. And if you’re a golfer, maybe you have golf clubs, absolutely everywhere, and you hang golf balls from it. 

What makes it fun for you? And not only makes it fun for you, but changes the stress level. If your tree is already up, then you don’t have to put it up and it’s nice and easy, and it saves you an hour or two or three, and it saves you a little bit of the mess and you just kind of get to enjoy it and bring it into your decor. My tree, I never actually took down last year. I mean I did, but what I did was I put it into the storage unit, left it totally put up. And then I just bought a big old sheet over the top of it to keep it from being too dusty. So this year, all I have to do is pull it out. It reduces my stress and makes things so much better, so much easier, by the way, I think this year I’m going bright colors. I think my Christmas tree is just going to be over the top. Happy, joyful, colorful. I’d love to see pictures of yours. 

A friend was recently telling me about a tradition that she learned of and a friend of her family’s did. And what they, what he did, is he would take a potato and he would put it in a Ziploc baggie with a note, and he would do this. He’d buy big bags of potatoes and he would prep all of the potatoes and then he would drive around his neighborhood and he would throw these baggies with potatoes onto the lawns of the people who had decorated their houses with lights and yard ornaments and whatnot. And it was his way of saying, “I really like your lights and thanks for decorating so that we can enjoy them.” And he did it. And then other people did it. And then more people did it. And now it’s kind of become a tradition in a few different communities where people just bag up potatoes and they’re throwing potatoes, they’re Christmas potatoes. I think it’s so fun. Like I remember driving around as a kid and looking at the lights, but we never really knocked on the door. We never, we enjoyed them. And we talked about them in the car, but we never actually like, let those people know, “Hey, your lights are pretty kick butt. I just appreciate that you did that.” And I really delight in the idea of throwing a potato into somebody’s yard and saying, “Hey, good job.” So I may just have to adopt that adorable sweet tradition in the name of this gentleman, because I think that it just sounds like fun and a beautiful way to honor the people. And realistically, you could probably scrub the potatoes and maybe cook them up. I don’t know. It just sounds like fun. 

Haunted houses in corn mazes are another one that is great for the fall. People love the corn mazes kind of getting lost in it. You go to a pumpkin patch, you pick out your own pumpkins, you carve them, you clean them out, and then you have these beautiful pumpkin’s decorating your porches, or you get to wander through the maze and see who can get through the maze first, maybe time each other, or maybe it’s a haunted house maze where you get to be terrified while you’re going through the maze. I’m not really big on haunted houses. I used to be when I was younger, I loved haunted houses. I thought they were absolutely fantastic. And then I wanted to be one of the scary creatures in the haunted houses, more than I wanted to go through the haunted houses, because I really liked the behind the scenes thing.  

What’s your thing? And if you really love haunted houses and corn mazes and stuff, maybe those escape rooms are a tradition that is very similar to it, where you kind of have to get out and you have to find your way through this maze of hints and tips. And that could be a tradition throughout the year. That just brings you a little bit of joy and makes you laugh and lets you connect with your friends. 

There’s several traditions that people talked about on specific days. For example, going to the movie on Thanksgiving day, someone else said that they went bowling traditionally on Christmas day or someone else said that they would go skiing on Thanksgiving day. It was just their annual, this is what we do. Some people went out for Chinese food because they did not want Turkey on Thanksgiving. And other people went out for Chinese food on Christmas day because that was just their tradition.  

What do you do? What do you want to do? What would sound fun instead of a have-to some of the traditions that we grow up with or that we work with are they become a have-to and a treasury and not an excitement. So maybe it’s an opportunity for something new. Maybe it’s a time, an opportunity to expand and play around. 

One of my friends was telling me about first snow sock walks. I think this is absolutely adorable and sweet. And it’s a childhood memory that they keep alive. Her husband, when he was a kid lived down south where they didn’t have a lot of snow. And so when there was a snow day and instead of gloves, they used socks as mittens. And so he would go out and he would play with socks as mittens. And so they now as a tradition, every time at the first snow, they go out on these sock walks and they have their little, their tasty beverage that they walk around in the snow and they use these with as clubs and they just enjoy it and it’s fun and they giggle and they enjoy and they laugh. And then at the end of the day, they go inside and they get to warm up together. And it’s just their joyful, happy tradition that just brings a smile to their face and happiness to their hearts. 

So many opportunities for traditions. So many opportunities to start something new. So many opportunities to find joy, reduce the stress, say, no, maybe there’s a little bit of self care that you can do this holiday season and say, you know what? I am not doing that because that is just not where I want to be. That is one too many parties. That’s one too many, have-tos. That’s one too many social things and I am more of an introvert. I’m just not going to do it. And on the same aspect, maybe there is a new tradition that you can start to bring yourself love and joy and happiness in life.  

And I’m encouraging you to find traditions throughout the year. My husband and I celebrate our kissaversary – the first time that I let him kiss me. And yes, I mean the first time I let him kiss me. Maybe you want to start a tradition of a date night where you alternate, who plans, what you’re doing, where you’re going, how you’re going to celebrate this date night, maybe it’s coffee in the morning. I know several people who, one part of the partnership brings the other one coffee every single morning. And it’s just this sweet, “good morning. I love you. And I just want to start your day off right” with a little cup of coffee in your hands and you get to open your eyes and see the love of your life. Just offering this deliciousness to you. There’s so many opportunities that we have to share and celebrate life, create your own traditions, create your own joy.  

It’s okay to say no to the ones that just don’t fulfill you and boy you up. And it’s okay to start new ones that just make your heart sing. Share them with us, let us know what you discover. Let us know what you think. Let us know your traditions. And maybe you’ll spark something new that other people want to take on and add to their own hearts and lives as well. There’s so many that I haven’t listed and it might be fun to just have people throwing them back and forth and sharing new opportunities and happiness. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. I hope you give a little bit to yourself and enjoy a lot that’s out there, the connection and the availability that we have in this moment in time. 

I hope this moment of self-care and healing brought you some hope and peace. I’m Krystal Jakosky on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and I hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. I look forward to being with you again here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. Until next time, take care.

Breathe In, Breathe Out is a weekly mindfulness and meditation podcast hosted by yours truly, Krystal Jakosky. Each week, we’ll release a brand new lesson or meditation focused on helping you navigate your life by giving YOU the tools to become your own healer.

Breathe In, Breathe Out is available now – wherever you get your podcasts.