Holiday Traditions

Family traditions are important.  And fun.  But it’s hard, when you are newly married, to meld your family traditions with your husband’s.  My husband and I have been doing this for twenty years now, so we’ve got it down!

Not only did we have to find a way to meld our traditions together, but we had to do away with some 🙁 and add new ones.  It’s been trial and error over the years, but I think we have our Christmas traditions established now!

Why are traditions so important?  The same reason why everything else is so important – because it builds a relationship with your child.  It is a way to spend time together.

I get told so very many times, and so does my husband, that we are amazing parents.  That our boys are so very awesome.  (They are!) And that they wish there were more kids like our kids in this world.  That kids now-a-days……well, I’m sure you can complete that sentence for me.  It’s one reason why folks have told me I should write a blog.

My husband and I always laugh.  And we have spent some time musing over this.  Why are our kids so amazing?  Most of it, honestly, is their own doing.  It is their own personalities and character that makes them so wonderful.

And we have nothing to do with that – no control over that. Who knows how the youngest three will turn out?!? Will my husband and I still be such good parents if we have one wild child? One little renegade coming up to throw the whole thing off? Because, I think we do! And oddly enough, he is the youngest of all the boys, the youngest twin.

We did, in all of our musings, though, decide that we do stand out from other parents in one simple way. There is one thing we do that we don’t see very many other parents doing.

We make our children the center of our world.

Sound daunting? Well, it’s not. It’s very easy to do. We simply make sure we have their best interest in mind with every decision we make. Jobs, careers, vacations, where we live, weekend get-a-ways, which vehicle we drive, right down to what TV show (if any) is on during the evening and whether or not we are heading out to the bar with a friend. It’s not hard to do. If it’s not going to be good for the kids, we don’t do it.

But the biggest way we make sure our children is the center of our world is we spend time with them. And we spend time together as a family. We do chores together. And of course, we play together. Playing together is our biggest “chore”. It is the most important thing we can do. You have a gynormous to-do list today? Good. Put “play with the kids” at the top. They are number one.

And one way we play with, or spend time with, our children, is through Family Traditions. And we have a lot of them! But one of my favorite is decorating our Christmas Tree. Here is how it is done in our house:

The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. If dad has to work, only lights and tinsel go on it. The rest of the house is decorated, but the tree is left bare until he gets home. Then, cheese, crackers, meat and egg nog are served. Christmas music is played. And the kids all have their very first present to open up – a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament.

I’ve been buying them for twenty years now. It started out I bought one for my husband and I each Christmas. When we moved out of our parents’ houses, we didn’t have ornaments of our own. So I bought a new one, commerating our year, each year. After the kids were born, I stopped doing it for us and started doing it for them. They get a new ornament every year, and that ornament somehow symbolizes that past year for them. When they are 18, it will end. Then, when they set up their first tree, they will have at least 18 ornaments to put on that tree. And each ornament will have meaning.

So we have Blues Clues, Thomas the Tank Engine, Scooby Doo, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Vikings, kitties, puppies, sports, and just plain silly ones, like the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. The kids all each have their own tote, and as they decorate the tree, they go through their memories. You hear a lot of “Oh I remember this one! This is when…..” And I love it. It has gotten to the point, now, where I don’t do the decorating. They handle it all. It has also gotten to the point that our tree is so overloaded I’m surprised it stays standing! Six new ornaments every year…… plus, family members know our tradition, so we often get new ornaments from them as well. My kids will have the best trees ever when they get married! 🙂

I wrap their ornament in “their” wrapping paper for the season. Each year, they each have their own wrapping paper. For example, one twin has kitty wrapping paper this year, and the other has penguin. This is because one twin has a love for kitties. My oldest has Star Wars. (We have had a lot of Star Wars over the years.) This started when they couldn’t read. It was how they knew each present was theirs. They had their own paper. (I quit when they all could read, and we had a coupe at our house that year!)

So they each have their own paper, and they have to guess which paper is theirs. Of course, I try to buy paper that also represents their personalities. That makes it a little easier for them. If they guess wrong, the next kid goes. If they guess right, they get to open their ornament. It is the first ornament they put on the tree. And of course, we take a picture.

And that is how we decorate the tree at our house! The ornament at the top of my website is my three-year-old’s Baby’s First Christmas Ornament.  🙂


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