Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s the one that I remember the most as a child, not because of the gifts I received but the traditions I created with my family. Christmas eve was by far my favorite, I have more memories of Christmas eve than of Christmas morning. I think that was because all my family came together on that day. We ate amazing food – nothing fancy, not even sit down dinner, but good food. Isn’t it funny how holidays are surrounded by food? I love that!
Part of the holiday excitement is because of those holiday traditions we have created with our family. Looking forward to doing those few things that make the day special brings excitement and joy for everyone. I have 3 brothers that are much older – 13. 15, & 17 years to be exact. I think one of the reasons we have continued a strong relationship is because of those traditions we created years ago, even if we don’t celebrate together yearly. I moved from Michigan over 20 years ago which kept me from celebrating holidays with my family for most of those years. Last year we actually had a family “early” Christmas in Michigan and let me tell you….it was AMAZING! No presents were given, our gifts were having the opportunity to spend time together, eating amazing foods, telling stories and laughing a lot.
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity for my children to experience different holiday traditions, which has given them a love for the holidays…not just the presents. If you ask my oldest what he is most excited about he will say Christmas eve. For him it’s about family being together, the food we will eat (we create a menu together), listening, singing and dancing to Christmas music and watching the Polar Express. That is our family tradition, just our little family of 4. For him as it was for me, it doesn’t matter what you do…. what matters is that you are doing it with the ones you love.
The Importance of Holiday Traditions for Families
Unity – Traditions brings family together. When you come together and take part in a family tradition everyone has a sense of belonging. This is so important for children because it helps them feel accepted and part of the family unit. This is major when they get older because they are then less likely to seek for outside acceptance because they feel so close with their own family.
Build Stability – Life changes all the time but if you keep up with those holiday traditions it will be a constant in their life which is something everyone will look forward to and count on year after year.
Sharing Recipes – There is nothing like preparing a holiday recipe that has been handed down from one generation to the next. Foods have a funny way of bringing people back into the conversation by reminiscing of old memories which then creates new ones. This year I spent time making my grandma’s traditional pierogies to share with my family which brought back some amazing memories. Our new family tradition is making sugar cookies on Christmas eve for Santa which the boys look forward to each year.
Change & it’s OK – Families change and so do traditions. Instead of me becoming upset that I don’t spend many holidays with my family, I appreciate the time I have with them more and more. By embracing change I am opening myself up to new traditions that I can make with my own family.
My Top 5 Holiday Traditions
1. Cutting down our Christmas tree every year
2. Picking out ornaments with the kids each year. By the time they leave the nest they will have a great start for their own tree
3. Decorating the tree and taking out all my old ornaments from when I was a child.
4. Baking Cookies with the kids
5. Quite evening with my husband on Christmas eve after the kids are in bed. Sometimes we wrap gifts, other times we turn off all the lights except for the tree and listen to music and just reconnect. With the holiday craziness we barely spend time together the weeks leading up to Christmas so that evening is our time.
I’ve learned through the years that it doesn’t matter where you are, or what is happening (good or bad) those little traditions bind us together as a family unit. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?