This phrase is the only thing I remember from watching our high school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof ten years ago (and the fact that the male lead was my best friend’s boyfriend, but that’s not really relevant). Anytime I think about the word “tradition”, I always want to break out in song. Which, based on my last post, I’m sure you would beg me not to. :)
Anyway, as the holidays are approaching I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions. We’re attending a parenting class for Sunday School and one thing that our teacher said was that holidays and family vacations are kind of like the cornerstone of the memories our children will have of their childhood. I think this is very true as I recall the memories from my own childhood. Most of my memories revolve around a holiday, birthday or a family vacation.
Since both boys are at the ages now when they actually enjoy festivities and such, I think now is a great time to begin instilling traditions into our holidays. Here are just a few traditions my family did as a child that I would like to do with our little family now:
- Santa Visit on Christmas Eve. Every Christmas Eve, we would head upstairs and everyone would sit on the floor, overlooking the balcony at my parent’s house. We would read The Polar Express and at some time during that book, Santa would walk through our front door and deliver some of our presents (the rest would come after we were asleep, we were told). Even after I “knew”, I still couldn’t figure out who was in the suit since all of our family was present. It turns out that it was a dear friend of the family who goes to our church (who also did it for his own grandchildren). This is one of the single greatest memories I have from my childhood! I’m on the hunt for a Santa suit, so tell me if you know of any good deals!
- The Twelve Days of Christmas. For the 12 days prior to December 25, my mom would place a small gift in our stockings each day. It wasn’t every anything big (normally candy, gum, lip gloss, etc), but it was something we always looked forward to. With 5 children, I know this was a lot of work for her, but a memory I treasure. I would like to do this with my boys this year, but add a giving element as well. Perhaps we could incorporate twelve days of serving prior to Christmas as well by delivering a meal to our elderly grandparents, volunteering to ring the bell for the Salvation army, etc. I want to make sure that our children understand and appreciate the concept of giving when there is a tendency for children in our culture to just want to “get”.
And this idea is from Prince Charming’s childhood:
- Live Christmas Trees (that can be planted afterwards). For a couple years in Prince Charming’s “growing up years” his family bought real Christmas trees to plant afterwards. Each year a different child got their very own tree. Then, they could look outside in the yard and see “hey, that’s my Christmas tree from when I was __.” For Big Brother’s First Christmas, we bought a very large, live Christmas tree that would be planted in the yard right after Christmas. We had the intention of doing this for every child’s “First Christmas” but neglected to do so for Little Brother in the craziness of just having a baby last year (plus we were pretty sure we would be moving soon). Now that we’re settled in our new house, we thought it would be a great time to reinstate this tradition!
|Big Brother’s First Christmas Tree (we liked the fact that it was crooked and very “CharlieBrownish”)