I think we’re finally starting to establish our own traditions. The first few years we always went to grandma and grandpa’s house, but we’ve done our own Christmas for the last two years (three if you count this one). The first Christmas we kind of sat around and looked at each other without a clue of what to do or even how to do it. Now, however, I think we’ve got some traditions borrowed from here and there as well as our own creations.
Here’s a few:
- One Christmas present opened on Christmas Eve. This year we started the tradition of drawing a name to exchange gifts, and we made that our Christmas Eve present. As an extra measure of fun, it even gets its own wrapping paper. All of the presents beneath the tree are blue except for the four red presents that we’ll exchange tonight.
- Christmas buffet. Here’s one from my own family. My family always did a big buffet dinner where you could eat whatever you wanted. It was always my favorite meal of the entire year mostly because I was a fairly picky eater as a kid, and it was nice to have a meal where I could eat whatever I wanted as much as I wanted. This year’s buffet is a veggie/fruit platter, cheese platter, crackers, chips, home-made (and sugar free) cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, candies (some sugar free as well), and bread. It’s going to be delicious.
- Kind of along the same lines, but we do a special drink just for us. Growing up, my family always did 7UP and lime sherbet, but since I’m not a soda drinker and sherbet has sugar, we decided on our own special drink. We’re making deluxe hot chocolates (sugar free) with creamers, cream, and so forth. It’s going to be tasty.
- For Christmas dinner, we do Eggs Benedict, one of my all time favorite foods. This year, we’re sharing that tradition with NSG’s family, and that promises to be a treat. I’ve never cooked Eggs Benedict for so many mouths.
- We like to watch Garfield’s Christmas as a family. That was a regular growing up in my house, and it’s quickly been adopted. Last year, Courtney and I stayed up late after the kids went to bed and watched a movie together. That was a satisfying tradition I’d like to continue, and Myron’s gift to Courtney this year happens to be Christmas Story, a film Courtney has wanted for a great many years.
- Of course we always talk about the Nativity, and each year we do it a little different. My family had the tradition of doing it fairly much the same way each year, and while that is fine, our kids are young enough that changing each matches better with their current and changing understanding.
- One thing my family used to do that we don’t was the presents train. My parents would hide all the presents in a locked closet, and one of the very last things we’d do was to form a long train and carry the presents out. With eight kids in the family, the train was long, fun, and full. It served to build the excitement to a fever pitch as well since this was literally the first time any of us got even a peak at any presents. We don’t do it mostly because we don’t have anywhere to hide the presents. That is something I hope to change once we figure out our housing situation (no word yet, by the way, but we’re being patient).
- One of my favorite traditions was the gathering at the bottom of the stairs. We’d sit on the stairs and sing to my parents until they’d begrudgingly get up. We don’t have stairs, but we have a curtain that we close. Sadly, we’ve actually had to wake up our kids every year so far…. I doubt that lasts.
- Along those same lines, it is dad’s job to sneak into the living room, turn on the tree, and shout out, “Santa didn’t come this year! Back to bed!!!” I’m happy to say that tradition continues still.
- One tradition I hope dies is the one-person-sick tradition. Normally, that is my brother-in-law Doyle, but not always. Still, I get very tired of someone being sick every Christmas. This year, Myron seems to be the lucky guy. He’s had a mild fever since last night and has thrown up twice. We think the throwing up is due to a very bad cough he has, but still… Enough with being sick over Christmas!
- And much more of course….
I read once that one of the critical keys to familial success is the establishment and maintenance of traditions. Traditions provide that framework that guides the family and provides consistent stability no matter the current situation. Additionally, traditions provide a measure of happy expectation and a benchmark by which children can measure their place in the home.
What are your traditions?