My most vivid memories of growing up center around specific holidays. My parents took the time to create traditions for each celebration day. Perhaps this is why so many couples argue when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they want it done THEIR way because those memories are what makes it feel special and that is what makes it Christmas!
This is so true for me. Christmas Eve means church and driving around looking at Christmas lights and sleeping in the living room with my sisters. Christmas morning means waking up and getting every one in the living room before we opened up stockings. There was bacon on Christmas morning and wrapping paper everywhere and apples and oranges in the stockings.
Deviating from these things was difficult for me early on in our marriage because there was so much association with Laura’s Memories=Christmas. When you add my husband’s completely different memories and traditions into that and merge the two, it can be stressful to make the day feel special for both people.
We had to work really hard and talk almost ad nauseous about our expectations and what each person wanted to do from December 24 until the 25th was over. I believe there will always be a little nostalgia and sadness that our new family together doesn’t do things exactly how I did as a child, but I love the new memories and traditions we create as husband and wife, and now our children will come to know our traditions as what makes Christmas special to them.
In our family we begin Christmas preparations early by doing a devotional every day centered around the advent wreath. After dinner we pull out the matches and we light the appropriate numbers of candles, turn off the lights, and read a special book in the glow of the flame. We also started doing a children’s Jesse Tree devotional three years ago which follows the story of how Jesus is woven into the entire Bible from beginning to birth. Each day we have a Jesse Tree reading and put the complimentary ornament on the tree. This year I made 25 felt ornaments for our Jesse Tree!
There are many ways to uphold your own traditions, begin your own, and create special memories with your children and I encourage you to do so! The more traditions you have in your family the stronger their association to your family will be.
We were just reading in a book recently that kids whose families have nightly or weekly traditions are more likely to stay at home or want to be at home so they don’t miss out. This makes us all the more motivated to want to make our family feel fun and alive for our kids.
New Years Eve is approaching! What traditions do you remember from your own child hood and what do you do now as a family?