A Ritual for the Holidays

Ask these 3 questions at your holiday gatherings

Rituals. They are the practices that we have as part of holidays that give us comfort and stability. Rituals can be special foods, practices, or most simply “just how things are done” that provide meaning and significance. In the workplace, rituals such as starting each staff meeting by reviewing a fundamental value that is important to your culture, such as “go the extra mile” help employees internalize behaviors of success.

A holiday ritual

Several years ago, I started a ritual with my extended family by asking three questions after our Christmas Eve meal and before we opened our presents. At the time my nephews were eleven years and younger, anxious to open up their presents. Although I was met with complaints, gratefully my family went along with it. I admit it probably wasn’t the best timing to ask the questions. It was my way of capturing the meaning of Christmas before the focus shifted to material gifts.

The Three Questions:

1. What was the highlight of your year?

2. What are you most grateful for?

3. What wisdom would you pass down to the next generation from a life lesson this year?


When I first started this ritual, responses were brief and superficial. Over the years, the responses have become more in depth and have strengthened family relationships. I have kept a scrapbook of family responses and it has been fun to look back over the years and reminisce as to what was important to everyone at that time. Also to glean the wisdom from life lessons.

Rituals help us to remember and to be more aware of what matters most in life. It’s the kind of goodness that lingers in our hearts and deepens our connections for months, even years to come.

This holiday season, consciously choose to ask the three questions and you might learn something you didn’t know about a friend, co-worker, or family member

Share your responses to the above three questions

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