As I sat there, I began to wonder what was wrong with us and why we didn't make traditional meals from our ancestral homelands like some of the other families? There must be something we do, some worthwhile tradition, right?!?! Were we creating those memories and traditions that our children would remember well into adulthood? Would they have anything to pass down to their own children, our traditions (if we even had any!?!?), because they had such fond memories of them from their own childhood? Or were we just succumbing to the commercialism of the season and letting materialism seep into our home, and the holiday really was all about "the gifts" for our family?!?! My heart sank as I thought of that possibility!
Well, thanks to one of the women there, and time constraints, all of the families didn't end up having to share, thank goodness, because at that moment, I thought that we were a family without any traditions! The rest of the party went fine, but I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe we were in fact a family without any traditions!
After that moment, I was on a mission to find out just what our traditions were...and I am happy to report that we DO have some traditions after all! Whew! Granted our traditions may not involve making meals that grandma, great-grandma, and great-great grandma before her made, and they do not span generation after generation and years of history, but we have managed to create some traditions over the years for our family. Some of them we've only just begun in the last few years, some we've started and stopped, and some we've been doing for several years and many we very well may do for years to come. We have the usual family traditions of seeing mom's family on Christmas Eve, and dads family on Christmas Day, but we also have some that are just unique to what our immediate family have created and we hold them very dear. They are traditions that the children ask about and look forward to every year.
I named this post "Christmas and Holiday Traditions", because we've done a few things for Thanksgiving and New Years as well, and I thought they were noteworthy as great family fun that our family enjoys, too.
Our Thanksgiving traditions that we have is that we always have Thanksgiving dinner at my aunts house as well as at my husbands mom's house. Also, the Macy's Day Parade is a big hit at our house, as we get ready to spend the rest of the day with loved ones! Another thing that we've done for about 4 or 5 years (or times) now is that we go over to our dear friends house for desert and visiting after our other stops. This has been a wonderful tradition that we value along with seeing our biological family, these special people are like family to us. We certainly enjoy this time of fun and fellowship with these special people. Although we missed this tradition this year due to sickness, bad time management, and planning on our behalf, we look forward to this tradition in the years to come! :)
Another tradition that we have is actually a New Years Eve tradition. We do the family thing and stay home to watch the ball drop (yes-the kiddos stay up until midnight, too) as a family. I allow each of the kiddos to pick out their very own treat-which is quite a fun thing in a family with many children- that we buy or I make for us. We put out all the treats for everyone to share and enjoy, along with another family favorite -PIZZA! This year "All Star Boy" choose Christmas Cookies as his treat, "Amish Girl" choose mom's famous Chili-Cheese Dip with tortilla chips, "Nature Girl" choose Cheetos (her new favorite snack), and "The Entertainer" choose mom's famous Pickle-Dip with crackers. We usually have special drinks as well, this year we had Cherry 7up, Egg Nog, and Warm Spiced Apple Cider. We set out all of the snacks and graze on them all evening while we play games, watch movies, talk, and pray in the new year. Oh, and of course we always have a nice warm fire compliments of my dear husband, which keeps us warm and cozy all night.
One of the Christmas traditions that we have is that we always take time to go driving around looking at Christmas lights displays. What fun! I absolutely love Christmas lights, and my children seem to, too! Even my husband has learned to appreciate the beauty of the Christmas light displays! :) I always try and make a point to do some sort of display at our home as well, so others can experience that same joy we do, when they pass by our home. I never manage to quite get that over-the-top, gaudy-but-tasteful Christmas light display accomplished that I would like to, but it's not easy to talk my husband onto a ladder in the winter! We've been doing this for as long as we've been a family. I used to do this even before I got married, it's just something I've always liked to do.
Here's a Christmas tradition that I just remembered, and that is that I really try and take the kiddos and I (and my husband-if he's available) to a Christmas show or performance of some sort. We've gone to the Nutcracker Ballet in the past and this year, and we've also gone to Christmas performances and shows at our former church, and other churches. This year we went and saw the Augsburg College choir and orchestra at Central Lutheran downtown with some friends, which was fabulous! And we went back to our former church for their Christmas performance which was awesome! We've gone to North Heights Church for their Christmas plays, as well. So we try and do some type of plays, ballets, and concerts as the opportunities present themselves.
Another Christmas tradition is that we go to a parade that we have locally. The difference between this parade and your normal parade is that it is at night and the floats are all decked out with lights! All of the floats have a theme like Santa, his sleigh, and his reindeer, or Mother Goose, or Hansel and Gretel, etc. It's called the Holidazzle Parade, and we have went almost every year since the kiddos were babies. We've also taken this opportunity to go and see the Macy's display at the Macy's downtown location, since that's where the parade is, too. This is always a fun tradition for our family. Although we haven't gone for 2 years, we will probably re-visit it next year. The year we went with our friends the Taffy's was the best! :)
For the last few years, we have had the tradition of performing and attending our support groups Christmas Variety Show. This is such a nice evening to get our minds set on the true meaning of Christmas, as well as spend some time with some of our homeschool friends, as well as our family members that attend. We also participated in our music organizations Christmas Recital, which the children love to perform in and they really enjoy seeing the other students perform as well. Another thing we've done is to participate in the girls' tambourine group's performances at nursing homes. As well, the children and I have participated in our homeschool support groups Service Project performing and caroling for the seniors at a nursing home. These things help us to serve others we know and in the community through music (piano, guitar, and singing), tambourine, and helps us keep focus on others during this "me" time of year. This has really been a blessing for our family, seeing the smiles on the faces of the people as they see the children and families perform!
Another Christmas tradition that we have is decorating our home and our tree for Christmas as a family. This is so much fun! When we decorate the tree, the kiddos put 99% of the ornaments on the tree and I purpose not to worry about if it is "even" or how it looks! :) My job is to take out every ornament and decoration, look at it, give it either to it's rightful owner (one of the kiddos), or whomever needs something to put up, and tell the story about that particular ornament or decoration. I talk about things like when we (or they) got it, what it means to me/us/them. It might be something that belonged to one of my grandmothers or my mom, or my husband or his family. This has become a really important part of our Christmas traditions, as it not only helps us focus on our Savior, as we have many angels, and manger-type ornaments and decorations, but it also helps us remember our loved ones past and present, our children's first Christmases, when mom and dad were married, etc.
A tradition that we started either last year or the year before is that we do a Christmas puzzle as a family. Any guest that comes over during the holidays is welcome and encouraged to join us and help as well. This had become a really fun and sweet time of working together towards a common goal, and a nice quiet time to be together. Sometimes we sit for like an hour trying to figure it out together, and sometimes we just find a piece here or there as we pass by the puzzle table. It's not a big important thing, just another thing the kiddos and I look forward to and another thing to bring us together as a family. The other day as my eldest son and I were finishing up on the Christmas puzzle, I asked him if he wanted to start another one, he turned to me and said, yeah, next Christmas, I can't wait! That was really special to me, something for the both of us to look forward to, and a time to be together again next year.
Last but not least, our last 2 Christmas traditions. The first one is that we always have some sort of cake and we pray to and sing "Happy Birthday" to the one we celebrate... Jesus! The kiddos love this tradition and they all get to blow out the candles in His honor. The last tradition I thought of is that we read an advent story every year and every night (or at least when we remember or have the time) during advent. Usually I read it, but this year my dear husband has read many of the stories, too. The kiddos really look forward to this time, it brings us closer as a family, and more importantly it brings us closer to the Lord and puts our focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is that precious baby boy that was born all those years ago in a manger...Jesus!
So there you have it, we are a family of traditions after all! It's holiday traditions "Lacy Life" style! I hope you enjoyed hearing about our traditions, and I would love to hear about your favorite tradition in my comments!
Until next time...Happy New Year and Happy holiday traditions for you and your family,
It's a Lacy Life