Creating Traditions

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Traditions are a great way to create lasting memories that will carry on in your family for years and years. Traditions are something that you and your family can expect every year, which makes the season something to look forward to.

As a child, I remember spending Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ home where my extended family would gather.  As the ladies took over the kitchen, the cousins would play while the men would sit around, watch football and catch up.  The table would be spread with every kind of dish you could imagine.  Of course we always had the main components, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and the like, but then we would get a myriad of dishes that we would only get at Thanksgiving, like Pistachio Salad and Candied Yams.  Not to mention the array of different pies we would have!  My Great-Aunt Marion was a wonderful cook, and I remember one year in particular when she made 9 different kinds of pies, heavenly! Then, once our stomachs were on the brink of exploding, we would sit down and play board games together.  Many wonderful memories were made at Thanksgivings past sitting around the game table.

That’s an example of what traditions should be like, memories that carry on with us and brings the family together. Now that I’m older and having my own family it’s time to start making traditions that my kids will be able to carry on with them. It’s important to establish traditions that are easy to do every year, such as going on a drive Christmas Eve to see Christmas lights or go on a hike while Thanksgiving dinner is cooking. Choose things that are simple that don’t require too much time, money, or effort. Those things can cause stress, and would be hard to want to do each year.

The holiday season is a time to build lifelong memories for your family. Traditions help you bond and reconnect with loved ones, friends, and neighbors. At www.cozi.com/live-simply/50-holiday-traditions gives a list of 50 holiday traditions that you can start doing, but I wanted to share some of my favorites.

  1. Make traditional dishes for your holiday meals and include foods from your culture or foods you ate growing up. Ask for recipes from relatives to keep your family food traditions alive.
  2. Make the same entree for Christmas Eve (such as stew) and Christmas Day (ham or turkey) every year. Or, choose a side-dish that becomes the yearly tradition, even if it’s just for laughs.
  3. Check out holiday lights in your area. Get in the car, turn on your holiday playlist, and find brightly lit houses.
  4. Walk door to door delivering Christmas cookies after you’ve made a batch.
  5. Read holiday books before bed each night. The Polar Express, Santa Mouse, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are all excellent tales to boost your family’s holiday spirit.
  6. Go to a tree farm to locate the perfect Christmas tree. At home, decorate it as a family or let the kids do their thing. Have some treats and hot cider or cocoa on hand to keep energy levels up!
  7. Create a holiday playlist that your family listens to in the car or at home. Don’t forget classics like ‘White Christmas,’ ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas,’ and ‘The 12 Days of Christmas.’
  8. Purchase or make a holiday ornament for each child every year. This is a great way to reminisce during holiday decorating.
  9. Go through closets and donate gently used clothing (coats are particularly useful this time of year) to a local shelter.
  10. Pick names randomly and only give gifts to the person whose name you draw. Set a dollar limit to keep it even and have fun!
  11. Spend Thanksgiving night planning your Black Friday. Check out all the sales, map your route, and make your list.
  12. Open one gift on Christmas Eve. It’s a great way to get your Christmas pajamas!