Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Traditions

For as long as I can remember, its been a dream of mine to have my own family. I can just picture us gathered around a big kitchen table, eating wonderful food, talking, and sharing memories and traditions. I was talking with a good friend of mine recently about this deep drive I have for family traditions and wondering why that was and where it came from.

This good friend, we will just call her Bestie T, is so wise.  At least when it comes to me and getting into my head.  She said that she felt a similar urge and that she thought it had something to do with her childhood being a bit rocky.  She lost someone very close to her at a young age causing quite an upheaval in her life and things were never quite the same.  They weren't stable.  She wondered if I could feel the same urge that she did to make the most stable and close knit, indestructable family possible.

Let's just say I think she is on to something.  My parents divorced when I was very young, and while I feel certain they wouldn't want me sharing the details of that divorce with the world, I will try to share a little of my perspective.  Divorce is incredibly hard on kids, everyone knows that.  People tell parents to act unselfishly and think of their kids.  And yet, our parents are just people... normal, flawed, and in this case, heart broken people.  I see that now as an adult and a parent myself.  Most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing, but guided by love (and survival instinct I guess!) I make it up as a I go along and pray that what I'm doing is right.  So, I'm sure that my parents love me and felt that what they were doing was right.  But hearing one parent speak ill of the other hurts.  Always being shuttled back and forth and missing your mother hurts.  Feeling torn because any comment you make might come across as seeming to loyal to the other parent and therefore disparaging to the one you're with tears a child up inside. 

I think having family traditions is so important to me because I always want my children to feel safe and secure.  I want them to know what's coming and to look forward to holidays, not dread them.  I want my children to have a place in a family and a home that they will hopefully be strong enough to leave someday, but know will always be there if they should need to come back to it. 

I've come to realize through some self-reflection after the conversation with Bestie T, that traditions won't make or break a holiday or my goals for my family.  They are nice, but you shouldn't push them.  I'm pretty sure that traditions that are worth having will happen to us organically over time. 

With that being said, I've done a couple of things this year that I hope will become traditions in our family.  The first is something that's just fun.  Amanda over at Dixie Delights had the most wonderful idea of making a hot cocoa station and I just couldn't resist creating one in our home.  So far it has been a huge hit!  Peanut asks for his hot cocoa every night with three marshmallows (that's as high as he can count or I'm sure he would ask for more!).  The other tradition is one my mother did with me and my brother and sisters.  Each year we would get an advent calendar with the little books that tell the Christmas story.  You read one little book each night starting December 1st.  I took the tradition just a bit further and bought a little Christmas tree for Phillip's room.  He picked out the star topper and LOVES it.  He's telling people all the time how there is a star on top of HIS tree, ha!  Each little book in our advent calendar is actually an ornament so I plan to let him read a story each night at bedtime and then hang it on his tree.

So, I'm dying to know what Christmas traditions any of y'all have and hope to start with your families?


  1. I love the new traditions I am creating with my family and I know part of it is because my family growing up was chaotic. Even though my parents were divorced my brothers and sister caused a lot of upheaval in our family life and so I want the stability for my own family. And I feel like traditions create that.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas this year! And I love that Advent calendar. We aren't doing one this year because I wanted something which had some meaning and wasn't just all about eating chocolate. Do you (Can you) use the same one every year?

    1. It doesn't change my response except I meant to say my parents WEREN'T divorced.

  2. Thanks Natasha! Yes, you can use it every year! No chocolate - only books, ha!


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