This week we agreed to chat a bit about family traditions. I’m assuming the 4 of us meant Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is good because there’s no way our family could ever compete with The Common Room when it comes to April Fool’s Day.
Of course we all know that it’s not competition. It’s about…um…doing fun stuff? No, that can’t be right. Don’t ask me to give a dissertation on the deeper meaning of family traditions this week. I just got home from a weekend that was waaay too much fun and I have a head cold and my sinuses and eyes are not feeling right. Consequently, I’m doing lots of dumb things, like showing up a week early for dentist appointments. Fortunately I’m also more forgetful than usual. “Why is that fortunate?” you ask. Because I feel sure that I’ve forgotten most of the dumb things I’ve done this week.
Having established appropriately low expectations, I’m now ready to share a few of our family traditions.
First of all, we stuff ourselves like the Thanksgiving turkey at every chance. Does that count? We may not prepare elaborate and time-consuming dishes, but we love to eat and a holiday is our number one excuse to serve all of our favorites at once. Obviously as the number of capable cooks in the house increases year by year, our feast does become bigger, better and more creative. After all, our chief end is to glorify God in everything we do, and the first two ways to do so are eating and drinking.
Second, we surround ourselves with as much family as possible. Being part of a large family makes this easy. Perry is the oldest of 6 children, and his mom is one of 7. We’ll spend Thanksgiving with his side of the family this year. I’m the oldest of 14, half of them married with children. We’ll probably spend Christmas with most or all of them. And we’ll eat every kind of food we can get our hands on, at every occasion.
For Thanksgiving, we usually take turns at the table, each of us telling what we are particularly thankful for this year. The more people we have at the table, the more challenging it becomes to have an original answer when your turn comes around. The older you are, the more insightful your answer is expected to be. Only 4 year olds are allowed to put pizza at the top of their list of Things I’m Thankful For This Year.
If you ask me, other traditions are nice but they pale in comparison to those above:
Christmas music begins the day after Thanksgiving. To play it earlier is simply not done. To fail to play it thereafter would be equally heinous.
We hang crocheted Christmas stockings, patterned after the ones Pampa made for Perry and his cousins long ago. We stuff them with nuts and candy, inexpensive toys, peanut m&m’s, and an orange.
We decorate the house and deck with lights, pine cones, a nativity set, and my old snowglobe from Party Light Candles.
We draw names from a hat to decide who will buy a gift for whom, both inside the household and in the extended family. The mechanics of the exchanges change every year.
We wear Santa hats when we go into town. You know, the standard issue red cone-shaped hat with a white fringe and a white puffy ball on top. We don’t “do” Santa, but we love the hats and the smiles they garner.
We make paper snowflakes to hang in windows and from the ceilings, light fixtures and fans. I try not to lose my cool over the millions of tiny paper scraps left on the floor. Just think of them as snow, Kim. Be a nice mom.
We argue good-naturedly about whether or not to have a Christmas tree, and how big it should be, and how long we should keep it. I’m the scrooge who doesn’t want the mess and bother, and I nearly always lose. Yes, we usually have a tree, and it nearly always happens on the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago when our house was still mostly unfinished, we used dark green floor paint to create a tree on the wall, then used pushpins to decorate it with our regular ornaments.
We each open a gift on Christmas eve. Other gifts may come before, after, or right on Christmas day, depending on where and when we see the extended family. Personally, I like it when gift-giving is spread out this way; it seems to make Christmas day less chaotic and stressful, making it easier to remember the one gift that really counts: God’s gift of salvation to His children.
See what to expect in the other Moms’ homes 0ver the next 2 months:
What traditions do you have in your family?
Oh – and quick! I need your best ideas for pine cone crafts! We brought home a bunch from our church retreat and I want to do something with them besides sweep up the crumbled remains.
Do you like the pine green I used on the text above? Or did it occur to you that pine cones aren’t green at all?
Upcoming topics for November:
- 11- Family traditions
- 18- Thanksgiving plans (a linky – be ready to share your plans!)
- 25- Thanksgiving Day celebration – watch for something fun and unique!