Think back to when you were a kid. I bet you have some favorite memories of holidays and family traditions. Have you ever thought about how those holiday traditions came to be? Maybe you know they have been in the family for years but maybe you have no idea. Maybe your parents started some traditions of their own when they married and started a family.
My family has a lot of Christmas traditions surrounding movies. That’s our thing. We almost always watched “White Christmas” on Thanksgiving night and “The Santa Clause” the day after Thanksgiving. And we always, but always, watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” after coming home from church Christmas Eve.
Sometimes traditions just happen and sometimes they are intentional. Have you ever thought about creating your own holiday traditions? It can be a lot of fun to create things that your kids will look back on with fond memories when they are adults.
Creating Holiday Traditions- Intentional
When my husband and I had been married a few years we started to realize that we never did anything on Thanksgiving Day. His parents did Thanksgiving on a different day due to other commitments for another family member and my dad often had to work on the farm that day. So we started doing something that we call Pies-giving. Everything we eat for our Thanksgiving meal has to be in the form of pie: turkey pot pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie. At the very least, the food must be served in a pie dish. Yes, quiche does count!
This created an intentional new tradition for us. My dad and I used to have the tradition of shopping for Christmas decor late in the day on Black Friday. We would get the rest of the day done and then go out late afternoon to buy stuff for Christmas. That tradition has stopped as I moved away and got married but it was intentional. These traditions took thinking and making sure they happened.
Intentional holidays traditions can be fun as you make a conscious decision to try something. Maybe it’s something you always wanted to try or maybe it one time was spontaneous and now you keep it going. It may even be something you did growing up that you want to continue doing.
Creating Holiday Traditions- Unintentional
Other holiday traditions sometimes just happen. A couple years ago I stopped forcing the watching of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve upon my husband. Friends of ours have an open house style party for family and friends after the Christmas Eve service at our church. We decided to go to one year and now that’s what we do. It’s always fun but has unintentionally taken the place of my movie watching tradition.
Other times you might just stumble upon something fun and years later, discover that you keep doing that tradition. Maybe you find you always end up making cinnamon roll pancakes for Christmas Eve dinner or you have cake for breakfast for birthdays. Whatever it is, these unintentional traditions often end up the favorites and the best memories.
Creating Holiday Traditions- Ridiculous
Sometimes the tradition ends up being ridiculous. For years, my mom had a small oven fire on Thanksgiving (Mom, forgive me for mentioning this). We don’t know why. It just happened. Then, the year I was pregnant with my oldest child, I took over that tradition. I accidentally burned the stuffing and it started to catch on fire. In case you were wondering, “smoked stuffing/dressing,” not very good. Leave the smoking to meats and cheese.
When I was a kid, I always burned myself on Christmas Eve with the candles at the church service (apparently my family has weird traditions involving burning things). It got to the point that if I didn’t burn myself, we decided it wasn’t really Christmas.
Whether intentional or unintentional, creating holiday traditions can be an awesome part of being an adult and a parent. Don’t be afraid to give up an old tradition you don’t really like to make way for something new! If you aren’t sure what you want to try, check Pinterest or even ask your friends some of their favorite traditions. We do tend to think mostly about Christmas when we think about holiday traditions but don’t be afraid to try things for Thanksgiving or Easter or even birthdays.
The sky is the limit when it comes to creating new traditions. Enjoy it and remember that you are creating memories for your children that will last.