“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like Eskimos”
- Mel Torme & Bob Wells
Traditions. Nobody plans them. They just seem to happen from year to year and generation to generation. They bring us closer, define us as families and provide the foundation upon which many of our best memories are built. So wouldn’t it be nice to start a new one this year with your kids?
Here, I’m sharing some of my favorite traditions I have with my own family, as well as those from my friend and fellow Manilla Folder contributor Melissa Bugaj, founder and editor of lifestyle blog According to Mags.
Each of these traditions was introduced into our homes by our children making them, if possible, even more special.
Dean, 14 – When my son, Dean, was 6 years old, he came home from school with a little green card featuring a special Christmas tree blessing. His sister couldn’t read yet so he handled the whole (five minute) ceremony himself with the family seated around the tree, the only illumination in the room being the white lights on its evergreen branches. Now almost a decade later, the whole family participates in one of the warmest welcomes to the holiday season. (Note: With a little creative thinking, this special ritual can be adapted to fit any household’s faith and/or belief system.
Vivien, 11 – Ever since my daughter, Vivien, could hold a crayon, she’s been drawing pictures and creating cards to share her holiday tidings with anyone and everyone in her life. And that includes the neighborhood postman and garbage collection crew. She custom designs a card for each of them every year and always attaches a little holiday candy to the card. Then, she leaves it outside to surprise the recipient. Nothing brightens her morning more than hearing the sanitation truck toot the air horn in front of our house as a “thank you” while she watches at the window.
Michele Robert Poche
Tucker, 8 – When Melissa’s 8-year-old son, Tucker, was in kindergarten, he was thrilled to realize that he was finally able to read his favorite holiday story, Twas the Night Before Christmas, all by himself. Since then, he has served as the narrator of that time-honored tale every Christmas Eve. Just before turning in for the night, his family members snuggle on the couch together in their pajamas with the requisite hot chocolate to listen to his animated retelling. And because his parents are podcasters, Tuck is fortunate enough to have had his narration debut recorded few years ago and posted here to share with his family and friends. Take a listen. Linus has nothing this kid.
Maggie, 6 – Not unlike most little people, Melissa’s daughter, Maggie, is completely captivated by the magic of the holiday season. And she likes to recreate that magic with as many colorful, glittery and bedazzled crafts as her little fingers can produce. Since she was two years old, she’s made a special, custom ornament for her family tree every year. The designs, colors and materials are all of her own choosing. Mel says it’s been a great way to follow her growth and development over time. It not only nurtures her artistic ability but also her self-importance in that her contributions are so valued and anticipated each year.
Of course, these suggestions are only a few of the customs and practices we observe in our homes every year. We’d love to hear some of yours. Oh, and before we forget …
Although it’s been said many times, many ways …
Happy Holidays to you!
Michele is the founder and editor of Old Dog New Tits, a blog about whatever craziness crosses her family’s path each day. She is a married mother of two from New Orleans who enjoys writing as much as possible. She is actively involved in her children’s lives and has served as everything from a room mother to a brownie leader to even the PTA President for a school of one thousand students. She also writes on a regular basis for writing competitions, freelance work and other small assignments. She is currently shopping publishers for a children’s book she completed recently and is always looking for new projects.
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