Wednesday, November 26, 2014

When it's time to start your own family traditions

Traditions. Every family has them. Whether it's all gathering at Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Or driving for hours to spend a whole week at Christmas time with at your in-laws house. Or your tradition could be to not have a tradition, never gathering or celebrating anything because your family isn't that close. My family is made up of two family traditions. My side of the family has always treated holidays like a spectacle. Even though we have always lived in a small middle to lower class home, we always cut down a tree every year growing up. We always had tons of presents under the tree thanks to my generous Grandparents. We always had dinner the same time every year and we always drove around to different areas to see the Christmas lights. Christmas has always been a wonderful time of year for us. Even with my Dad remarried and living 3 states over, he always sent us presents that arrived before Christmas. As we got older, my Mom would have us college girls (my sister and I) spend Christmas eve night with her and bring our boyfriends if we wanted. We would play card games and drink wine and beer. We would laugh our socks off and fall asleep in our brand new pajamas that Mom always gave us the night before Christmas to sleep in. We would wake up to presents, eat lots of ham and sweet potato souffle and head back to our apartments. I must admit that I still miss those times. They were lots of fun. 

My husband's family is a different story. His parents divorced much later than mine when he was in his teens. They were ruthless in their divorce and traditions went completely out the window. The truth is, his Dad never cared much about family ties. He comes from a long line of abusive alcoholics that treat holidays as just another day of the year. His Mom has always treated Christmas as the special day it is. With lots of presents for the children, her whole house decorated with animated Christmas characters like Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas Carolers, and Reindeer. She has a big Christmas event at her house every Christmas eve that we happily attended every year until our son was born, on Christmas Eve, in 2009. Our yearly Christmas schedule was as follows: Stop by my husband's uncle's house to see his Dad who is up from Florida to "see" us for Christmas at 5:00PM, eat with them, open presents. Leave at 6:00-30ish to go to his Mom's house, eat, open presents go home. Wake up go to my Mom's house for Christmas day brunch.  It was always a zoo. Even after the birth of our son, we tried to keep up with this tradition. But we found ourselves not devoting enough time to our child. We felt like we were running around trying to please everyone and it was too difficult. 

Now we find ourselves making our own traditions. 

This year is the first year and I have planned a really great set of new family traditions:

1. Fresh cut Christmas tree chopped the day after Thanksgiving.
2. Celebrate my Son's birthday with his friends at the first of December. 
3. Make one homemade ornament each year to add to the tree, 
3. Make Christmas cookies and read  the night before Christmas
4. Spend Christmas eve watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
5. Convince husband to get over his fear of heights and get on the roof to convince B to fall asleep because Santa is here.
6. Open Santa's presents first thing in the morning and wait until Grandparents arrive to open rest. 
7. Enjoy our Christmas as a family.

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