Tradition is Peer Pressure from Dead People

So, first of all – hi, yes, this blog and I still exist. I know it’s been a year (and two days) since you’ve heard from me. 2022 was…interesting. I think we can all agree on that, yeah?

It’s interesting to me rereading last year’s “hey, it’s almost NYE” blog post and seeing how much I’ve continued to evolve and change my perspectives, even just in one year. Things that have stayed the same:

  • I still love New Year’s Eve, because I still love fresh starts and (the concept, not the reality of) glitter and champagne and watching When Harry Met Sally… every year.
  • I still try to get all of my holiday decorations down/put away and my house reasonably cleaned up by December 31.

There are some things, though, that I will not be doing this year as we move into 2023. First and foremost – I’m not picking a “Word of the Year” this year. I picked my “words” from 2015-2022, and in those seven years, they sort of served me reasonably well-ish, I suppose. But they’re not holding as much significance or power for me right now, so I’m not doing it.

In fact, a lot of my philosophy and effort around New Year’s is changing this year. Thanks to some brilliant creators popping up on my FYP over on TikTok, I’ve heard and (currently – like I said last year, my opinions are always subject to change) agree with a few of these perspectives:

  • Setting goals/resolutions in the middle of winter* doesn’t make a ton of sense. (It’s only winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but that’s where I am, so this applies to me). Before we as a society decided to forever and ever listen to Julius Ceasar as to what our calendar should look like, we generally did stuff seasonally. And when plants are dead, animals are hibernating, and it’s cold as f*ck outside, most humans weren’t like “NOW IS THE TIME TO REINVENT MYSELF.” They more likely were like “hey, let’s eat some soup and curl up by the fire and wait for spring.” So I’m gonna let myself keep hibernating for a bit. I’ll reevaluate around the Spring Equinox.
  • You think Valentine’s Day is a scam? New Year’s Resolutions are worse. Look, it’s January, it’s Q1 for most companies, and they’re coming off the holiday high. Of course they all want you setting goals, and of course they have all the perfect products to help you do it. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby — it’s not actually about YOU. (This is true of capitalism/consumerism in general, but it’s especially bad this time of year).
  • Traditions are just peer pressure from dead people. I love some traditions. I really do. And I like consistency and routine, so the notion of traditions does appeal to me. But there are two types of traditions: those we do because we want to and they bring us joy, and those we do because we think we “should” or that someone “expects” them. If traditions are the former, fantastic! Keep on doin’ ’em. But if they’re the latter, I’d encourage everyone to sit for a bit and ask yourselves: why? Why, for example, am I eating cornbread and sauerkraut and black-eyed peas and (usually fake/vegetarian) pork products on New Year’s Day when I hate them? I can’t say the years I’ve eaten them have been any “luckier” than the years I haven’t, so…guess what I am NOT going to do this year?! And, honestly, it feels amazing to make that decision for myself. I encourage you to look at any tradition that makes you go “ugh, why” and give yourself permission to let it go, Elsa.

Now, of course, as I said last year, if any of these things – words of the year, resolutions, goal-setting, maintaining age-old traditions – suit and serve you, then go forth and [insert deity/belief/concept of your choosing] bless. Ten years ago, you would’ve been pulling my traditions and routines out of my cold, dead hands. But people change. I’ve certainly changed. And if you’re feeling like maybe you could use a change this year too, then I invite you to do that — if it feels good.

Of course, you can always wait for spring.


  1. Love this! Have you read/heard anything about Hygge from the Danish culture? (Pronounced “hyoo-guh”) It’s very much focused on taking the time to stop, rest, and enjoy the moments happening around you. I’m a little obsessed with the ideas discussed in the book I read, and the Facebook group I joined, but getting them incorporated into daily life takes a little more work. 🙂 But it’s always good to have goals I can work toward.


  2. I agree wholeheartedly about choosing those traditions that ring for you and not just succumbing to the pressure of your elders to keep following in their footsteps. Something I wish I had learned in my early married years but fortunately finally came around to it in the past 8 years or so. And I love the notion of hygge. It is something that has served us well over the years. Enjoyed this post.

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