Friday, December 7, 2007

TRADITIONS...old and new

I LOVE traditions. The holidays would not be the same without them. Which is why I have started thinking a lot about what I want our family traditions to be.

As a kid we always depended on a few things (some of which may be familiar to you, too):

1. New Christmas PJ's opened on Christmas Eve

2. The Christmas morning breakfast casserole (one year home from college my mom
decided to "mix it up" a bit and try something new. That one did not go over well with us kids!

3. The "themed" Christmas card my dad puts together with his catchy play on words
and poetic phrases. One year he made a snowman family for all of us to sit by, including dogs. Another year we were all on a raft and the theme was something like "Sailing Through the Year". Cheesy, but a tradition nonetheless.

4. Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with candles and all! Yes, strange, I know.

5. Reading the Biblical account of Jesus' birth.

6. Around high school, our stockings were discontinued and we graduated to pillow
cases. These would be stuffed with all kinds of junk food like Fiddle Faddle, crackers, cookies, candy, sweet cereal, etc. You would understand why if you grew up in my family. My dad was a bargain shopper and was known to buy expired, foreign foods from grocery stores you never knew existed like the Rainbow Market, dollar spot and the 98 cent store. He also bought horse feed in bulk, cooked it up, and tried to pass it off as OATMEAL...EVERY morning. So you can see why we appreciated our pillow case full of brand name junk food!

7. Christmas decorations! Like the wooden, toll painted tree that held suckers. Or
the curly ribbons we would throw over the christmas tree like tinsel. Or the
terribly tacky stained-glass Christmas tree (oh the magic of lighting the candle
to light up that tree)

These are the memories we used to thrive on. Now as I am older, I want to continue some of those traditions, but start new ones too with my own kids. Here are some new traditions that I really like:

1. Dinner in Bethlehem - dress up in era-appropriate robes and eat a dinner of pita
bread, fish, nuts, and dried fruit by candlelight. Talk about the Savior's birth
and what it would have been like to live in His time.

2. Christmas morning TRAP - My friend Amy makes a trap of string and bells down the
staircase that her kids have to get through on Christmas morning in order to see
what Santa's brought.

3. Wrap 30 children's Christmas books and put them under the tree. Each night in
December the kids can pick one book to read.

4. The day after Thanksgiving give your kids a Christmas pillowcase made from
festive fabric to put on their pillow. Tell them it's time to start dreaming of

5. My friend Kelly gives her kids 3 gifts for Christmas. One is a gift of LOVE
(usually something homemade), a gift of KNOWLEDGE, and a gift of JOY (something
fun). I think this is a great way to keep out-of-control spending in check.

6. Elf on the Shelf - this is a book and doll that can be purchased. After
Thanksgiving the elf comes out. He is Santa's spy from the North Pole to see
who is being naughty or nice. Every night he returns home to the North Pole to
report to Santa on your kids' behavior. When he comes back to your house he is
hiding in a new spot and the kids have to find him. Can you imagine the good
times this could bring to a young believer??!

What are some of your favorite traditions? I would love to hear!


Mom-Kathy said...

Ali I love being the FIRST to comment! I LOVE traditions old and new. It's amazing how the years fly by. Pretty soon you've done the family tradions for 30+ years. You don't even know where the time has gone or that your children are grown. ENJOY every minute Luv and Hugs!!

Lindi said...

Ok, I've got one for you. When we were little my mom and dad wanted us to sleep on the floor in their room Christmas Eve. We were all excited got our sleeping bags, pillows, and I even took my alarm clock. We slept on mom and dad's floor woke up and had Christmas. That year my little brothers got bunk beds for Christmas and so that's the reason why we slept on the floor in their room. Well, we didn't know that or understand that and we ended up sleeping on my mom and dad's floor every year after that. I'm guessing that my 23 year old brother still does it!! hehehehe. Funny, weird and was a tradition for my family.

Celia and Scott said...

The only family tradition I can think of right off the top of my head is Christmas morning tears. I swear, every year there was a "magical" display of drama and tears. Awesome.

p.s. I loved the "Dad shopping at discount stores." I'm sure Adrienne has told you but that's like the bane of our existence -- my rich mother only shops discount and it drives us crazy! Every time we go to her house, the cupboards are PACKED with unheard-of cereals, expired and OVERSIZED canned goods, nasty crackers, etc. Oh parents. Aren't they the greatest?

Melissa said...

I really loved reading about your old traditions and the new traditions you'd like to put into play. As kids, my sisters and I would get junk food in our stockings too - squirt cheese, fruit roll ups, chicken n a biscuit crackers - all our favorites that never stood a chance in the cupboards. Too fun!

Our family tradition each Christmas morning was to wake up at 3:30 or 4 - my parents made us all camp out until at least 5 though - so we'd all four sisters sit in the bedroom and talk about how excited we were, shiver from being early morning and excited, and just chat about what we thought we might be getting or whether or not Santa even came! The question would always come up about "Were we good this year?" and we'd all just talk about the good things we did and then move onto where Santa might be delivering presents "right now".

Merry Christmas!

Abi said...

Those are some good ideas...Thanks!

Roney Clan said...

I love the picture of you with the snowman. That Tree with the suckers, My mother had one of those. That is awesome. Totally brought back memories!! Christmas is the best time of year!!!!! Thanks for those traditions!

Oler Family said...

You make me laugh Ali! I can always hear your voice as I read your blogs!!!

Every year my mom tries to come up with some kind of code as far as our gifts go. Mine are all in red wrapping paper, one brother is green ect... she doesn't put any tags on so that we don't know whos is who. Last year my gifts had my brothers name on them. I'm not sure why she still does this because it has NEVER worked out right and none of us live at home any more. We always open up each others gift and say whos is this mom? It's so funny!

Angel & Cameron said...

I love your new traditions! Some of those sound really fun!

merideth said...

ali so i guess i should have kept your christmas card envelope a little longer and got your address off of it...that would have been easy. but i did not. love your card so cute. your belly looks so good on you!
so can i have your address?
email me
and will you tell me what camera you have and if you like it...i am shopping around for one.
thanks. love you!

sheena said...

We always get new pj's Christmas Eve also!! I love it--my mom still does it now!!

Our family always had a Christmas "date night". We'd all go out to dinner, and then split up and shop for eachother. I learned as a teenager never again would I go shopping with my lady said what a cute "couple" we were.

I have been scarred ever since.

The Steenhoek Clan said...

The Christmas picture of you looks a lot like Jack!
I love Kelly's tradition a lot. Thanks for sharing.

Jay Sessions said...

What a treat to think that our daughter would actually remember all the corney things we would do as a family. I think "the older you get---the better it was". We are definitely going to mention her remembering in our other traditional Thank You letter we prepare for each of the kids that recaps their year and how grateful we are for them and their progress.

Heidi said...

I am a big fan of tradition. I love the ones I grew up with and I love the news ones we have created.

Amy said...

Our tradition was setting the smoke detector off while we were trying to light a fire. I swear, it happened every year. Oh memories...

Marie - Mother of the Bird Nest said...

Can you believe less than 3 months left! YIKES!