As an event planner and designer, I am accustomed to taking something traditional and turning it into something non-traditional. The blue gourd in the photo reminds me of what happens when you take something and add a colorful spin to it. It doesn’t make it any less useful or important. In effect, I have learned that it is okay to create what you want.

In my personal life, I have done the same. I have my blood relatives and I also have “chosen” family (my children are adopted and I have friends who are like relatives). Again, it is okay to create what you want.

This past year I came to a conclusion: I need to create new holiday traditions to accommodate my created family and our goals.

For example, most of you will be gathered around a table, eating with friends and family. You will be eating turkey and all of the side dishes. I have done that as well, but today I am working and resting. My family is not lacking and they are fine, for which I am thankful.

However, as we approach the end of the year and the incoming year, I have decided that holiday giving will be a part of our family’s holiday traditions. Children see the pageantry and brightness of this season, including gifts they receive and think that is all there is to it. I want my children to understand that giving to others in need is every bit as important. We will be taking plates, gifts, and other items to people who need a lift. We will be feeding people and volunteering our service in the community. The hope is that giving becomes a part of their lifestyle – all year round – as they mature. After all, to whom much is given, much is required.

My confessions lead me to this very important point. Create your own holiday traditions. If you want to do nothing at all, it’s okay. If you choose to eat a burger over a traditional meal, then do it. If you choose to be with chosen family over blood kin, do it.

I think sometimes we forget that the spirit of the season is far more important than the activities. Live the spirit. It’s okay to be the blue gourd.