Family Frameworks

Making Traditions that last



Nov 2012


Traditions are so very important to families.  They make the family unique and memorable.  I think about my own traditions in my family as I was growing up.   One was very simple where we took a family picture that was very creative, my favorite was Mommy Kissing Santa Clause as we all peaked around the corner, four stair-step little girls in matching pajamas and one year where we had our matching nighties and pulling Santa out of the fireplace.  We opened gifts on Christmas morning and my mother laid out gifts like Santa had come.  When I think of those memories they make me smile and I feel all warm inside.

Since I have been an adult and grown I started my own traditions with my family, such as buying a Christmas ornament every year for each child then saving them for when they married so that they could put on their trees.  We had stockings with their names on them, and I followed my mother’s tradition by laying out the stockings and Santa gifts.

After I remarried and had step children we had to start things a little differently.  We had to be more flexible about when and how we would celebrate because my children had to leave on Christmas at noon and my husband’s children were here on Christmas every other year. When we married we had to figure out which traditions we would keep and which we would not.  When would we celebrate with his family vs. my family?  How could we get all the family together after they were grown? We first started by sharing our own traditions with each other, such as now I give all five (his 3 and my 2) a new ornament each year.  He started giving a DADDY gift to every child at that time too.  My in-laws started their tradition of visiting their children’s home when it was convenient for each child rather than expecting them to come on one specific day.  Sometimes they would come Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or some other day.  There was flexibility but there was a tradition.  We tended to go to my family right after breakfast or close to noon so that we could eat brunch together.  But we would always celebrate on the DAY of Christmas.  We didn’t always have the children when we would celebrate.  But we made it work and we set our traditions.

Now with grandchildren we have started even more new traditions.  We have three granddaughters and all five children are married and in their own homes, so we had to transition and get creative to start more new traditions.  I now have just started the 12 Days of Christmas with the grandchildren, so that they get a little present every day for 12 days leading to Christmas.  Another tradition I started since our children all are married is that we had stockings made with their names embroidered of the two spouses.  They bring those to our home on whatever day that we will be celebrating Christmas and I fill with fun stocking stuffers and my husband still gives the DADDY-gift.

What we learned from all this is, Traditions are important to make memories, we can laugh about the different ornaments or the stocking stuffers.  We remember when we were at this house or when Grammie and Grampie came.  But we had to be flexible enough to know when to tweak our traditions so that they could continue maybe not quite in the same way but create some new memories.

Don’t be afraid to start a new tradition,  Start, see if it works and if it’s fun and go from there.

Now, what are some of your fun traditions that you remember growing up or how have you been flexible in tweaking your traditions?  Please post so we can share with others. Share a picture or 2 too.  Would you also pass this blog along, it might be helpful in some small way for someone you know.  More on Friday.


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