Written by: Trish Moser
I love holiday traditions.
When my husband and I had our first child, I’m pretty sure that I overwhelmed him with all my ideas of traditions we could start with our kids. When I first started these traditions, it was mainly because my family had traditions of our own growing up, and I always loved them. I wanted to make sure that my kids had memories of our holiday traditions.
The first few years after we had kids I was diligent in making sure those traditions happened. I prepped way ahead of time, and I was hopeful that my kids would someday catch my excitement.
Now we are 7+ years into parenting, and my kids are the ones reminding me about our traditions. In November they start talking about our annual advent and the way we do gifts. Some years I almost forget about some of them until they remind me!
The first tradition I ever put into place was our advent. I don’t do the typical countdown to Christmas. I wanted to make our countdown something that represented our family well. We all love to read here, so I decided that we would do a book a day, beginning December 1, that led us into Christmas.
So each night we unwrap a book to read together, and the tag on the book tells how many days are left until Christmas. My kids take turns taking that night’s book into bed with them. The very last book, on Christmas Eve, tells the true story of Christmas.
My kids get so excited to open these books, even though they are the same ones from every other year! These days, my 7-year-old loves to read them to his younger siblings. It makes my heart happy to sit back and watch the three of them love on each other, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. I love this designated family time.
The second tradition I implemented was only because I was overspending, every single Christmas. I love giving gifts, but I was going overboard and spending too much money regularly. We don’t want them to think Christmas is all about the gifts, but my love of thoughtful gifts was teaching them that it was. So, we started giving our kids four specific gifts:
Something you want.
Something you need.
Something you wear.
Something you read.
My kids know that these are the four ways that we choose their gifts, and they are always eager to find out what we picked for them.
My favorite tradition is just for me. No one does it with me, but it is the one that fills me up the most. After the Christmas morning excitement wears off and the gifts have been unwrapped, I pour myself a hot cup of coffee, and I sit in the corner of the living room and observe my family. My son can usually be found building a new Lego set, my middle daughter will most likely be drawing with new art supplies, and my youngest is normally seen rolling around on the floor with a new toy. My husband is usually lying on the couch recovering from putting together all the toys or reading a good book.
And then there’s me; quietly sitting, sipping my coffee, and storing all these treasures up in my heart. I love this moment. Sometimes it only lasts for 5 minutes, and sometimes it blessedly lasts a lot longer, but for these fleeting moments we are all content and peaceful… which is usually followed up by someone throwing a fit or puking…parenting is so glamorous.
Sometimes I cling to traditions even after we have outgrown them, and my wonderful husband is endlessly patient with me about it. I surely don’t deserve him! I love these traditions, and I am excited to see what traditions my kids choose with their own families. There are other traditions that I have carried over from when I was a kid, and I hope those are the ones that they bring into their own families.
Find your own way of creating memories with your families. Do what works for your family, and steal someone else’s idea if you want to! There’s no shame in that! Create the moments, and store up those treasures in your heart. These are the moments that we will remember after our kids are gone.
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