Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's A Family Tradition

Hello, my name is The Park Wife and I am a tradition junkie. As the holiday season approaches, my mind always pictures a Norman Rockwell Christmas. In my delusional, hyped up on candy cane mental state, I think that our family is sitting by the tree posing for Rockwell. Every year, Christmas day comes around and well, let’s just say with as many in our family with all of their dysfunction (you see I said their, no ownership here, I am a Rockwell model) it is anything but Rockwellesque. I want my boys to have fond memories of the holiday season and traditions that they will pass down to their children.

So, what is tried and true, our family traditions:
  • We read the Christmas story before bed on Christmas Eve.

  • Our boys only receive 3 gifts from us. That is how many Jesus received and His birth is what we are celebrating (of course grandma and Aunt Nikki and on and on really adds up, so do not think they are being deprived).

  • The boys have matching Christmas pajamas (for those cute Christmas morning pictures) .

I would like to add a FEW traditions and since our boys are small, this would be the best time to start new ones. Although I am a tradition junkie, I do want things we will actually do and that will bring us together as a family celebrating Christ’s birth. So, please leave some ideas of what your family does/has done, recipes, anything that you would think we should try.

Littlest Buckaroo and Little Buckaroo last Christmas.


Mapper said...

Our pastor stays at our church Christmas Eve, and has the church lit with candles. It's not really a service, but rather people are invited to come in and take communion as a family, staying to pray if they wish, or leaving if they need to. We always go with my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents, etc and the whole family takes communion together.
We also read the Christmas story together the night before Christmas, dimming the lights in the house, and sipping hot chocolate as we tell about baby Jesus. The Boy is now getting old enough that he can read it out loud himself and often wants to read it.
Oh... and we always have brussel sprouts ;)

Asthma Girl said...

It is harder as our kids are getting married and moved out...

In yesteryear, we took the girls to the mountains each year to play in the snow and we used to do zoo lights every year as well.

Currently on Christmas eve, I do a buffet so that there is food for each family member that arrives at a different time. I keep things warm in the crock pots until late and then clean up for the next day. We keep things simple by just visiting with each other or watching holiday movies and sipping cocoa or spiced cider. I generally start some of the cooking for the next day if I can find space around all the piles of Christmas Cookies.

Anonymous said...

I think the giving of three gifts is absolutely beautiful. I don't have any children but I will try and remember that idea for the future. And I love the matching pajamas on your boys!

Stacie said...

I love the 3 gifts idea as well! We always read the Christmas story as a family before opening presents on Christmas Eve. It's so much more precious to me now that my father is a grandfather and the patriarch reading it to his grown children and young grandchildren. We always have oyster stew for dinner--oysters cooked in lots of butter then put in warm whole milk with salt and pepper. It's very good! You serve it with oyster crackers.

JessicaB said...

I love your traditions. The 3 gift thing is so meaningful. I hate to say but we as a family have no traditions but you really make me want to start.

The one thing that is traditional is that when we gather with my husbands family we always read of Christ's birth before the gifts are opened and the food eaten.

I am seriously going to start some traditions in my house this year.
Thanks for helping me realize the importance of family traditions.

Julie Beth said...

We love having the tradition of the children getting only three gifts. Our kids will tell people that they only get three gifts because that's all the gifts Baby Jesus got. It really helps with keeping the focus on the Savior, our true gift.

I do sneak another gift in on the night we decorate the Christmas tree. Each year we get a new ornament for each of the children. I useually will try to get them all the same or similar things. For example one year had been really snowy and the boys all got snowman ornaments. I make sure to lable them with the year given and initials so me can remember who's is who's.

The kids love decorating the tree and seeing their ornaments. It's fun to listen to them associate memories of past years with the ornaments. When they leave home they will take their ornaments and memories with them.

Chicken Friend said...

chicken friend here. I distinctly remember my grandparents cook bringing out a birthday cake to the children's table..and we sang happy birthday to Jesus. Princess #1 is old enough this year, we will start this at our house. I love the 3 gift idea as well. so neat. it's a shame they don't pay you for your writing. It's excellent and inspiring. Thanks for sharing, love, chicken friend.

Jennifer said...

i love the 3 gift, i think we may do that! we do the matching pjs and a breakfast cooked with the kids helping and stay in our pjs until noon!
-love yoour blog!

Anonymous said...

Love the 3 gifts giving.
Your boys are so cute.
An Alabama Grandmother

southernjoy said...

Whew... I am the tradition queen. My oldest son takes after me. If we did it one way before, then you don't mess with it because you're messing with *tradition*! We have always read the Christmas story from the Bible before opening gifts (family) on Christmas Eve. Then Santa comes on Christmas morning, but he doesn't wrap his presents. They are all out for everyone to see when they wake up and walk into the den. Cookies and milk and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, of course, on Christmas Eve. And, my dad always smokes a big ham, and our Christmas Eve dinner is ham sandwiches from that ham. Hmm, sort of a rambling reply, but I thought I'd share.

And if PW won't be your best blog friend, I will. We have a lot in common, down to our obsessive tendencies about where each ornament should be on the tree. LOL!

Elizabeth said...

What handsome little men! I love the matching pj's. I tried to get my mom to get my girls robes and slippers (like my grandmother used to do for me and my sister) and build that up as a tradition but she's not convinced they'd bother wearing them.

Ok, so they probably wouldn't but it would still be a tradition!


Stacie said...

You have some great traditions going, some that your boys are sure to carryon for generations to come.

We really only have on tradition that I can think of and that is that we always open one very small gift on Christmas eve before going to bed. I always used to read "The night before Christmas" but my boys are older now and have long since outgrown that. It's also hard for us to follow tradtions sometimes as my husband is in the navy and not always home for the holidays. I try to carry them on as best I can when he's gone, but it's not always easy.

Erica said...

Our girls are small, but we already have one thing I plan on making a tradition:

"Santa's elves" ring the doorbell and leave a new pair of Christmas PJ's at the door. Hopefully this will get them excited to get into bed so Santa can come.

Joann said...

I have always made xmass cookies
with my kids & freinds kids who ever wants to come over. we always have it on the 18th. due to my sons birthday is on the 17th.
we have been doing this for 27 years now oh my can't beleive how time flies. We still do it with my kids (MEN) I have 3 sons 26, 27 & 19. & we still make cookies the day after J's birthday Any who ever is around. Kidda funny that my MEN will still do this but it just turns into another get together with every one

The Thompson Gang said...

At our house, we wrap up 24 Christams books or wintry books. Every night one of the kids gets to pick a book and unwrap it. The wrapping makes it fun, since we have read all these books before. We read it in front of the Christmas tree before bed. At first I just gathered the few that I had and then added some from the library. (We used to have a 3 week check out), but since we have been doing this for several years we have added to our collection a little bit every year. The children's Grandparents have even given them a few books with special dedications in the front. We all love this tradition for so many reasons. It brings us all together at the close of every day for some quiet family time. The kids will have their own books that they can have to keep this tradition with their families someday too.

My other favorite, the kids don't even know about. Every year we write a letter to each of our children. We include our family Christmas letter and picture that we send out. We usually write what their presents from us will be too. Then we mail it to them with the rest or our Christmas cards. When it comes back to us we have a small timecapsule that I save in a box for when they are older. They don't open it. I have them all since their very first Christmas. So they will have at least twenty Christmas pictures and letters as a kind of family history all in one spot. I plan to give them to them after they are married or maybe the first Christmas after they have their own children.

Anonymous said...

My mom gives us an ornament each year (this year's ornament was 2 gold hearts connected together, she said it was me and Greg's sweet :o)....we also have a lil' box ornament that we put a peice of paper in every year with our gifts and favorite memories!