Holiday Traditions: How To Create A Memorable Celebration You'll Actually Enjoy

12/21/2011 03:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 20, 2012

Holidays so often fall short of giving us what we all seek most -- a connection to what made us feel connected and a special part of our family and friends.

The emotional equivalent is best achieved by re-enacting, recreating and sharing some of the special memories and activities that made the holidays so joyful. We all crave the special rituals that made life better, brighter and more meaningful particularly in these challenging economic times.

In my consulting practice, I've made a note of what has worked for others. Here are some suggestions that might work for you as well:

1. Remember. Dig back into your memory bank of past holidays and spontaneously write what first comes to mind that you would describe as special. It could be a feeling, activity or meaningful discussion. Use a pile of index cards and write the first thing that comes into your head without judging what you're writing. When you've exhausted your free-flowing creativity, read what you've written and prioritize the pile in order of what would be most important for this holiday season to achieve. Now you may have a list of meaningful priorities to experience and share with others. Next, develop the way you'll make it happen.

2. Get In Touch With Your Priorities. I'm often asked how you can get in touch with your priorities. Think about your passions and a sense of purpose in sharing those special feelings of the holidays. How would you create the atmosphere and activities so your guests could best share this ideal experience with you? Maybe you could all share one special memory of a family ritual that they find meaningful and see how many of you share in carrying on that ritual. Baking with mom and perhaps her mom; collecting and sharing special photos from past holidays, or perhaps lighting candles and singling together and the feelings that the ritual evoked.

3. Create Rituals.
If no rituals come to mind, create some for this holiday as a special activity you can all share and continue over the years -- something to look forward to sharing again.

4. Build connections. Perhaps everyone who participates in your holiday could suggest what they'd like to create as a holiday activity that would become a holiday ritual. Each person could be asked to create their own priority list and share it. If there's enough commonality in the priorities, a group list could be created so all could participate in realizing as many of the top priorities as possible in the time you have together.