Favorite Family Tradition from Malia of Playdough to Plato


Note from Jenae:  Throughout the month of December, I’ll be sharing posts by several of my favorite bloggers about their favorite family traditions surrounding Christmas. I firmly believe that traditions help shape our children’s memories of their childhood and draw us closer together as a family. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have!

“Celebrations are the ritualized interruptions in the continuum of daily life which remind us who we are, where we came from and where we are going.” -Milo Shannon-Thornberry


Tradition shared by Malia of Playdough to Plato

When Jenae emailed me a few weeks ago asking if I would share one of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions, I happily replied, “yes”. Christmas is my favorite holiday, after all. Writing about something I love so much would be a treat, right?!

Then something unexpected happened. I was hit with a HUGE case of writer’s block. We have so many beloved holiday traditions that I couldn’t pick just one – going to the Macy’s parade, getting new pajamas, finding the hidden pickle on our tree… There are too many great ones.

But as we were decorating our Christmas tree a few days ago, I realized that as much as I adore all of our traditions there is one that makes my heart melt – one that makes me smile year after year: finding the perfect Christmas ornaments to gift to my husband and boys.


Each year at about this time, I head to the store and hunt through a huge selection of ornaments to pick out something that represents each one of them – something that will serve as a memory of who they were or what they loved that Christmas. The first year of marriage, I gave my husband a framed wedding photo:

That same year, my husband gave me a Starbucks cup. (Yes, I’m still completely addicted.)

There was this lamb capturing a first Christmas:

Last year, my three year old joined in the fun and picked out this gift for his little brother – a miniature of his favorite stuffed giraffe. My oldest was so careful to choose something his favorite buddy would love that the memory of buying it is as special to me as the fact that it captures my youngest’s favorite thing.

No matter how silly or sentimental or down right ugly the ornament is, it brings back the most wonderful memories. And now that my oldest son is old enough to join in the tradition, hunting for ornaments has become even more exciting. I can’t wait to see what perfect ornaments we add to our collection this year!


Malia is a National Board Certified Teacher and the blogger behind Playdough to Plato – a site sharing playful, hands-on early literacy games for kids. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. We add meaningful ornaments to our tree each year too, and I love looking at the story it tells! This year we changed things a little bit. Instead of going as a family to choose our ornaments, I took each of our 3 kids on their own little date to choose their ornament. Afterwards, we stopped for a hot cocoa at Starbucks. They were told not to tell the others what ornament they chose, but instead to wrap it up. Then, on the night we slept under the Christmas tree, they each revealed their ornament, hung it on the tree, and told why it was special to them. They’re already talking about when they go on their “date” next year!

  2. I gift my kids ornaments every year too, trying to tie it into something specific from that year. They talk about each one as we decorate the tree. It’s fun to hear which are their favorites and why they remember certain ones. I love this tradition.

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