Has this ever happened to you?

You're knee deep in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, when you have a flash of inspiration: you want to start a new tradition with your beloveds. But when you share your idea, you only get scowls in response. Your vision of an evening of hot cider and charades by the fire fizzles faster than you can say Jack Frost.

Holiday traditions hold strong romantic appeal because they come from a loving place and are intended to warm the cockles of all the hearts involved. But it's a challenge to create one tradition that fulfills everyone's unique desires for style and substance.

Well-intentioned people can get frustrated on two fronts: they get stuck thinking that there's only one way to get what they want, and they think their loved ones want the same thing that they want.

So, instead of blurting out your next fabulous vision to your beloveds, try this simple method for creating a holiday tradition that will lift everyone's spirits.

Step 1. Inquire. Ask them: What new tradition would you like to start? They'll probably do the same thing you did before you read this article: suggest activities.

Here's where it becomes either exciting or maddening. If you focus on the fact that you want a different activity than the ones they suggested, you'll feel stressed. For sure, cider and charades beside a crackling fire would be awesome. It's the best thing you can think of right now, so you'll be frustrated when they want to do something else.

But there are dozens of other ways you (and they) could get the same feeling. One of them might be even better than what you're currently thinking of as the tradition you want to start. How do you find out? By diving deeper into the possibilities pool. Which brings us to...

Step 2. Go deeper. When your beloved(s) tell you what they want to do, keep this in mind: why they want to do it is more important than what they want to do. So pay even closer attention when they answer the next question you ask them: What would it do for you?

You want to understand how they'll benefit from doing it. This is extremely important, so take your time with this step. Have them talk about as many bennies (benefits) as they can.

See if their answers share a similar motivation to any of your answers to that question. Look for a common theme, like:

• I want some quiet time in the midst of all this chaos.
• I need a break from Christmas-Christmas-Christmas! I want to do something unrelated to the holidays.
• I'd like to feel more connected to you.
• I'm feeling fat from eating so much heavy food, so I'd like to burn off some calories.
• I'm uncomfortable with how much money we've spent already, so I'd like to do something that's free.

You may find that their bennie is the same, although the activity they suggest is different from yours. Here's where you can share your matching bennie and push the limits of your imaginations as you jointly explore options for awesome new traditions. In other words...

Step 3. Negotiate. When they suggest watching a DVD because they're tired of the shopping and decorating, you could say: I'm glad to hear that you want a break from the running around. I do, too. I agree that watching a movie would be relaxing. I'm also wondering if there might be more fun ways way we could take a break, like an evening of hot cider and charades by the fire. What else could we do that you'd enjoy?

The key is that now you have mutual ownership of the process. You already agree on the feeling you want, now you're sharing the journey of how you'll get there together. Either you can agree on one of the activities already on the table, or you could explore other possibilities, including activities you've enjoyed together in the past.

On the other hand, if their bennies are different from yours, think both-and instead of either mine or yours. How can all of you get some of what you want? As you kick ideas around, make sure that everyone's needs are acknowledged and included somehow. Also, have everyone agree to be willing to compromise equally, without holding a grudge (it's a cornerstone of a healthy relationship, after all).

For example, here are a couple of ways you can pair stimulating and relaxing activities.

For couples: an afternoon of cross-country skiing followed by a couples massage and dinner at your favorite restaurant.

For families: today, we'll cut our own tree and decorate it. Tomorrow, it's game night! We'll build a fire and drink hot cider.

To be sure, traditions make the holidays more personal and special. So use this simple three-step process to create traditions that will be the most meaningful and enjoyable for you and yours, for years to come.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. You can sign up for Discovering Your Values, a 5-day e-course at no cost at http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. She offers a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 13 years. Her website is http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com.