Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Traditions....

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Tradition. I can't hear that word without my mind breaking into a rendition of said song from Fiddler on the Roof (you can sing along inside if you would like...). Since getting married and having children Rick and I have talked about so many different family traditions. Which ones we liked. Which ones we wanted to establish as a part of our family. Some of them are rather simple. Some of them more involved. But they all involve a yearly ritual of sorts in an attempt to pull our family together and establish a bond that just maybe our children might carry on into their own families.

Curious as to what our traditions are? We started out with grand ideas for some.

Tradition #1: Chopping the family Christmas tree. I had always had a live tree. No fake tree in our house. My mind quickly began to change on this point the year of the praying mantis'. Yes, bugs. And lest it sound too minor I will use the word...


infestation.

Fortunately now it is a fun story to tell. They did look so innocent and cute (at first). And I'm sure it was great fun to be one of those little bugs on the wall watching me chase each and every last one down from our cathedral ceilings with the vacuum cleaner hose. All ornaments off the tree. Yank the lights off. Haul the tree outside. Pesticides. Time outside to freeze. Should have taken care of the problem. But there were two nests. So back they came. My little mind began to toy with the idea of a plastic tree of sorts. Pre-lit. So this year our search for the family tree will be traipsing down to our basement to haul the box out of the corner and stick the branches into the trunk.

Tradition #2: Christmas breakfast and dinner. A special breakfast of some yummy French toast. Dinner must involve ham. And more sweet potatoes since we didn't get enough of them at Thanksgiving. And lots of other yummy food. But those are the necessary pieces. Oooo...and eggnog. I'd be shot if we didn't have that.

Tradition #3: Stay in pajamas all day Christmas day. This sounds great until Christmas falls on a Sunday and you can't exactly go to church Christmas day in your pj's. So you change, pretty up, and then lounge the rest of the day after church. This has become one of my favorite family traditions. We had some friends of ours that do this and we pulled it in as one of our own. I NEVER stay in my pajamas past 8ish. Can't stand not taking a shower. But surprisingly enough for Christmas pictures I'm looking not so pretty. And I'm ok with that. :)

Tradition #4: Molasses cookies and milk for Christmas Eve night. And we open ONE present (which is always the same...new pajamas...when do you think the kids will catch onto this one?) These are Grandma's molasses cookies. Can't miss these. Or having the kids look nice for pictures in the morning. :)

Tradition #5: Celebrating advent. This has been done differently each year. We've had an advent log and celebrated each day, and more recently used a wreath with a candle for each week. But we really enjoy this aspect of getting ready for Christmas. We try to do a devotional each night. Sing together. And just enjoy it together.




Tradition #6: Making some sort of cookie mess. Must involve sugar. Lots of sugar. Roll in it. Colorful sugar. Sprinkles. Any sugar will do. By the time Christmas has come we will have more cookies than we know truly know what to do with. But we will eat them.

Why do we try to establish traditions with our family? How do we envision our family in the future? With 4 kids...prospective spouses...numerous grandkids...it's all a little mind boggling. But mostly, I want our children to desire to be together. Spend time together. LOVE to be together with our family. And continue traditions in their own families as a means of developing relationships. Christmas is such an amazing time to establish traditions - it's a season that is ripe with options. But really, so is the rest of the year: Popcorn night Sundays, movie nights, game nights...I'm sure that we all have something we do together as a family during the year. I think most important to me ... in addition to developing close relationships within our family ... I want to draw our kids closer to Jesus. But that doesn't require a "tradition". That's truly our everyday life, isn't it?

So..what are your traditions? I'm just curious...and would love to hear what you all do as a family. So, please share - and I'll try to compile some of them into a future blog (and maybe add some more to our list of traditions!!).

5 comments:

  1. About 2 years ago we started having a Christmas Eve picnic in front of our Christmas tree. We spread out a blanket and eat your normal picnic style meal. We talk about Christmas, why we celebrate it... we just have a wonderful time together as a family. The kids love it. This is one we will be doing for a LONG time.
    We also do Christmas Eve pj's, thats one that we did when I was little. The new pj's (for all of us) make for a nice family picture in front of the tree Christmas morning - before any gifts are opened. :)

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  2. I'm thinking that this "traditions" blog sounds oddly familiar ...didn't I talk to you about this a couple of days ago? *wink*

    Note to self. don't tell Jo my blog thoughts until AFTER I write it up. Hee hee

    Traditions... Um? I'm still in the process of thinking it out. :D

    I like all of yours though.

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  3. Oh, and EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! You were brave to bring that tree back into your house. I would have left it outside and went for a fake one then and there. :)

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  4. ANd OH!! I have to say I was SOOOO glad you told the 2 nests in the tree story. Jet and I were JUST talking about it as we put our own tree up last week. Sill makes me laugh. :D

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  5. Each year we make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake...year 1, child 1 (6months old)...footprint in top of cake. Year 2 (same child) hand print in top of cake (lost her balance and fell in...sigh...

    Each child gets a new ornament (this year, I'm cross stitching them, what was I thinking????)

    We ring the bell for the Salvation Army as a family (mental note, pick the Mall NOT an outside location).

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