Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Will the Perfect Holiday Tradition Please Stand Up?

Knit Christmas Ornament Patterns

Traditions give meaning to holidays. When you think back to the holidays of your youth, the first things that come to mind are probably going to be the traditions you and your family celebrated.

Will and I have been married for five years, and Gracie and Annelie have been around for 4 and (almost) 3 of those years. I'd like to say my sweet little family has holiday traditions to look forward to every year... but that would be a big fat lie. Here's a sad truth about me... I haven't started any holiday traditions with my family. None. Nada. Not one little tradition. You'd expect that we'd have a holiday tradition or two after five years together, right?

Wrong. I'm a holiday tradition failure.

We are Christmas celebrators, so you might think getting a Christmas tree would be a tradition for us... but the tree we bought two days ago was our first tree in three years. And before that, we've only had one other tree. So. We've had a Christmas tree 2 out of 5 years. That's 40% of our married-with-kids, holiday-celebrating life. Tradition FAIL.

Snowflake Cookie Recipe by Natalie

Every year I have the best intentions of making scores of holiday cookies. Gingerbread men, spice balls, peppermint shortbread, those little mint meringue thingies with the chocolate chips in them... but I've only baked 2 out of 5 years. That's another 40%. That's another FAIL.

Every year, I think, Hey! How about a little holiday music to cheer us up! So I ran out and bought a holiday music CD the very first year Will and I were married, and we've listened to it... once. That's 1 out of 5 years. That's 20% - Tradition FAIL.

Cities all over the world have light displays to admire, spectacular tree lighting events, carolers and mulled apple cider for everyone to come out and enjoy. We've moved 7 times in 5 years, from town to town, and state to state... and have only made it to 2 city-wide holiday events. Again, a 40%. Again, a tradition FAIL.

Going to see Santa? Um. Twice. Tradition FAIL.

Sending out holiday cards? Once. Tradition FAIL.

Eating those tasty little chocolate filled advent calendars as we count down the days till Christmas? Um. Never (at least not since I was a kid). FAIL.

Whimsical Retro Christmas Cards

So. I'm thinking that I need a holiday tradition. A lasting tradition. A magical, mystical, tradition that we as a family can look back on when we are one hundred years old, and say, "Now THAT was a fantastic holiday tradition."

Do you have any ideas? Are there any traditions you have that I can adopt? Any magical, mystical, cherished and delightful traditions you'd love to share with a traditionless family in need?



  1. I gots nothing for ya, because I'm a tradition failure too.

    Hey, maybe that could be your yearly tradition ... trying out new traditions! (that really doent make sense)

  2. Here's an easy one! On the night we decorate our tree we always get Chinese take out for supper! :)

  3. Ah, you need to take it down a notch...not make it some BIG tradition. I have one for you...which is a combo of something a friend of mine used to do...and something we started last year.

    #1...Christmas PJ's. My friend has been buying herself and her girls Christmas PJ's since they were little. She buys them, then every year on Christmas Eve, they open them...then wear them on Christmas Day. They are never expensive...just fun, warm and festive. The girls are full grown and still look forward to seeing what PJ's they'll get.

    #2 Make cookies for Santa. Don't aim to end world hunger with cookies (translation, don't spend the whole day baking cookies). I bought a roll of Pillsbury Gingerbread dough...we got a gingerbread man cookie cutter...on Christmas Eve Amelia and I will make just enough for Santa. No 15 courses of different cookies for Santa to devour...just gingerbread. I bought premade frosting in a bag to decorate them.

    Oh yes...then there's always making (or buying) one special ornament to put on the tree every year.

    So what do you think???

  4. Alyssa and Fairies Nest... those sound PERFECT! What great ideas. And now I'm hungry for Chinese take out!

  5. My parents had a tradition from when they were first married for each person in the family to get a new ornament every year and open it on Christmas Eve. It is always an ornament unique to that person. I have an ornament from every single Christmas of my life and once I moved out and got married, I took my ornaments with me. My husband didn't have that tradition, but we have carried it on with our son, and eventually with our future children. It is always really special when we decorate the tree to see ornaments that I got when I was four or sixteen or the one from our son's first Christmas, or the even the one from our first Christmas as a married couple. :) That is probably the most important tradition we do, but there are lots of things that you can do: go drive and look at Christmas lights with hot cocoa each year, leave cookies for Santa, go to a Christmas event together, bake cookies, make a snowman, etc. :) Good luck. Merry Christmas!

  6. That ornament one is really sweet!! I still have a lot of my ornaments from when I was little... I love looking back at them. What a great idea! I know my kids will love something like this!

  7. I love this post :)

    I think my family has too many traditions...almost to the point where it feels like we're tradition-saturated.

    We do cookies for Santa, the jammies and the ornament traditions mentioned above at our house.

    One fun tradition is that I always make reindeer poop pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning (chocolate chip pancakes) and the kids love it.

  8. On Christmas Eve we drive around and look at Christmas lights, listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate. This fun because it's inexpensive and you can drive around for a long time or for a half an hour... but the tradition is still accomplished : )


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