A toast before champagne; blowing out candles and making a wish before tucking into birthday cake; ceremoniously carving a turkey or saying grace before digging into Thanksgiving dinner. Ever stop to think if there’s a reason for all this tradition steeped on tradition?

Research shows that we savor and appreciate food and drink more when a ritual precedes it. Delayed gratification, more enjoyment and a sense of deeper meaning contribute to the enhanced experience. By linking rituals to beneficial behaviors like healthy eating or exercise, those positive behaviors are more likely to be experienced as pleasurable and thus, more likely to be practiced.

My favorite traditions for the season: a long family walk after Thanksgiving dinner and delivering meals to the elderly with Citymeals-on-Wheels in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman