One of the gifts of being a child of divorce is that our family holiday traditions were shaken up early.

Since we stopped doing “what we’d always done” when I was 15, I feel like I’ve had permission for the last 22 years of my life to re-invent with every holiday season.

One year we went out for Thanksgiving dinner in ball gowns.

The year Mike and I got married we spent Christmas Eve, just the two of us, at a sweet little French restaurant across the street from our apartment, and I made a Christmas Day feast for two, paleo style. Then we went to the movies.

Some years we’re with family. Some years we’re with friends. Some years we’re with both.

As I write this we’re actually still not 100% clear what we’re doing for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I’m really here for the freedom of that.

Every year we do things a little differently and I love it.

Just as the seasons of our lives change, why shouldn’t our holiday traditions evolve as well?

I know a lot of people are finding this holiday season particularly challenging.

Not being able to gather in the ways we always have can certainly feel like a profound loss.

(Though I’m well aware that for some, it’s a relief.)

No matter where in the spectrum you fall this year from grief to relief, I invite us all to take this opportunity to do something differently this holiday season.

Maybe it’s as simple as trying a new recipe.

Maybe it’s as dramatic as completely doing your own thing after 30 years of going home to your parents’ for the holidays.

We are not the same people we were a year ago, so why should we celebrate the same way?



Making space for doing something new is a sweet way to savor the season, despite our awareness of the things we wish could be that cannot.

It feels like this year more than any other year before is inviting us to ask ourselves:

What rituals of celebration and acknowledgment am I craving this year?

What foods, people, places, and practices would fill me up this year?

In case you needed permission to not do something just because your family always has, this is it.

And of course, if you have holiday traditions you savor, rock on.

As we move toward the close of the most bizarre year many of us have ever lived through, may we be present with our own needs and allow ourselves to get them met throughout the holiday season, even if it looks really different than it’s ever looked before.

If there were ever a time to shake things up, this year is it.

What holiday traditions are you letting go of or reinventing this year? What holiday traditions are you keeping and savoring? Leave a comment and let me know!

Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and mother who supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages. Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, and The Huffington Post, and she’s spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. Kate lives with her husband and business partner, Mike, and their daughter Penelope in Maine. Find out more and receive your free copy of the 5 Simple and effective ways to get the results you want in your business at


Image courtesy of Ben Waardenburg.