Holidays

Kicking it off: Traditions!!

Tradition, tradition… anyone hearing Tevye yet? :)

Well, that’s the topic of a new little series we’ll be hosting in this corner of the world. There will be ideas, recipes, pictures, you name it!

Growing up, we definitely loved our traditions. Now, here’s the deal: some families are more naturally into traditions than others. Some personalities love the idea of “we always do it this way!” Others, maybe not.

But here’s the thing: taking the time and effort to establish some significant traditions is a golden opportunity for you to impart to your family. The things my parents instated spoke to us about the importance of God, the worth of certain events, and our own value. Traditions aren’t just about warm fuzzies or good memories (although I don’t mind a sentimental memory now and then, for sure!). They’re another opportunity to shape your family — and that’s worth doing!

Sometimes the idea of traditions can feel very burdensome, and there certainly are some things to keep in mind:

First, traditions are meant to be a blessing. Yes, they take work and effort and all of that good stuff. Stockings don’t magically fill themselves; parents stay up till the wee hours in order to accomplish such “magic.” Leg-o-lamb doesn’t just appear on the table after the Easter service; a mother carefully planned and prepped and timed that event! BUT if you’re continually frustrated or burned out feeling like you have to keep up with some Universal Tradition, well, reevaluate!

Second, choose traditions that you think are realistic. Mom was always careful of what she did once, because that’s all it took for us to think we should do it every year (or every birthday, or whatever.) Well, for instance, birthdays: Mom and Dad established a pattern of “big” parties at our 5th, 10th, 13th, and 16th birthdays, as opposed to every year. They were thinking ahead, for sure. I mean, can you imagine nine huge birthday parties every year? Throw in a few holidays here and there, and you’ve got a burned out Mama!!

Third, choose traditions that have meaning. Get bang for your buck! Simple things, though, can communicate a world of importance. Lighting candles and reading the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve: does it get any easier, cheaper, or more special than that?

Lastly, remember that you’re not a slave to traditions. Life happens, seasons change, and sometimes even with your best effort, the fancy party food has to go. We’ve been known to have Christmas dinner the day after… or even the week after! Those are the moments when you get to remind everyone that traditions are just a way of remembering what truly matters!

Hopefully we’ll all be encouraged and inspired as this little series unfolds. If you tend to poo-poo traditions, I hope we’ll be able to share some of the value they’ve had in our families. If you’re not from a background of sound family traditions, maybe you’ll find the starting blocks to establish such things in your own family.

Most of all, I hope we’re all challenged to work hard to instill the important things in our children’s hearts, and in the fabric of our family. Whether they’re the daily traditions or yearly traditions, tangible reminders of what truly matters are worth our effort.

Discussion

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  1. I’m looking forward to this! I’ve seen this happen already in our lives with the do-it-once = it’s a tradtion! You have to be purposeful or else everything becomes tradition! :) But, I love traditions and I echo Darlene’s whisper of rum logs. Why, I just mentioned them last night. We started the rum log tradition last year…yummy!

    Posted by Randi Young | October 2, 2008, 4:27 am
  2. I can’t wait for this series on traditions. I have been so blessed by your family. Thank you!

    Posted by Michelle | October 2, 2008, 7:24 am
  3. Hooray! I’m so glad your doing this series. I grew up with a handful of family traditions, but need to get motivated to build them into our little family (of 2 going on 3). For lots of reasons I’ve held back, but “its just the 2 of us” and “I’m so far from home” or “things are different here” are not good enough reasons!

    Posted by MaryBeth Loewen | October 2, 2008, 8:38 am
  4. What a naturally wonderful writer you are, D! I love to read your posts.

    To explore this topic fully,I highly recommend Noel Piper’s book “Treasuring God in Our Traditions”.If anyone wants to borrow it, I have a copy.

    Posted by nancy | October 2, 2008, 9:55 am
  5. Very good advice. We just started a couple of fun traditions last year like celebrating advent. It was really fun because my son is starting to get to the age where he can really understand (some things) and participate, and my daughter just loves the stimulation of it all! Fun.

    Posted by Gina Murawski | October 2, 2008, 10:36 am