holding tight to holiday family traditions


Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder  ~ E.B. White


Back in January of this year I had had enough. I was not going to write another blog post. Ever. And I didn’t. That is until I started missing my connection to you through this interesting platform called a blog. 

A few months later as I tentatively began writing again, I knew I had to define my purpose for writing because, I gotta tell you, this blog writing thing had turned into a dreaded chore, a should do instead of free flow of words.

After much introspection (not to mention my Inner Critic constantly shouting at me to “just quit already”) I knew that I wanted these things. I wanted my blog posts to inspire, to motivate, to encourage, to teach and to share. Today’s post definitely goes under the share column. 

Holiday Traditions 

This year in particular I am struck by how the traditions we hold dear carry us through. 

One of our family’s regulars is Christmas ornaments. When we moved to the States back in October of ‘92, with both hubby and I away from our families and all we knew (he’s English & I’m Bahamian) we knew we had to start over from scratch.

When my older two were 3½ & 6yrs old, I started a new tradition. I wanted to do something different and meaningful just for our family as we began our lives in our new country, sans immediate family. 

I went out and bought two new ornaments for our tree, one for each of the kids. They had to be related somehow in theme but also different enough from each other that they could personalize it. That was the beginning of our family’s most cherished Christmas tradition. 

My kids are now 28, 25, and 16 respectively (Whoa!) and I still “surprise”them every year with new ornaments. I didn’t even stop when my oldest son, Andrew, joined the Air Force six years ago. He still gets an ornament too.

As we decorate the tree they each rediscover their particular ornament and, it’s then that the memories flood in about each one they’ve receive. Each single ornament holds a special memory. That’s 22 years of happy thoughts. 

It’s funny though that a newer tradition has popped up. Their father is the only one who can hang Andrew’s ornaments on the tree, now that he’s not here to do it himself. 

Another holiday tradition we hold dear is the Saturday after Thanksgiving is always house decorating day. First we all traipse out in our Santa hats and choose THE tree. Neither Dave not I got to cut a tree down growing up. In creating a tradition around this we decided instead to head to the same tree lot every year whew we got to know the lot owners over time.

Each of us runs around (literally) looking and eliminating trees until each person has chosen their tree. Then we’d take a vote on the 5 (now 4 that there’s only 4 of us at home) in the running for BEST tree. 

On the way to the tree lot is the first time we listen to Christmas carols, with Luther Vandross’ “The Mistletoe Jam” * being the absolutely 1st one that gets played every year. Btw....my kids are so put off by the way-too-early consumer start to all things Christmas that they made this rule themselves.

The thing we do that’s more for me than for the kids (cause we know all they want to do is open gifts), is videotape the kids coming down the stairs Christmas morning and each taking turns opening gifts.

Even this Christmas tradition has taken on a newer flavour. My son now Skypes in from wherever he’s stationed so that he, too, is walking down the stairs to greet the Christmas Day with the rest of us. 

The last tradition I’ll share with you is about our Christmas dinner. Because Christmas is so close to Thanksgiving and we HAVE TO have a turkey for dinner, we all decided years ago that we would cook a different protein for our Christmas dinner. Let me just say, it’s been interesting....and some were not repeated. Ha!

  • What are some of your own holiday traditions?
  • What family memories steeped in tradition do you remember most?

Savour these moments of family, and love, and life unfolding every year because... 

These are the moments that make a life well lived. 

I want to wish you every joy as you celebrate in your special family ways. May the tidings of the season be with you and yours as you create fresh new memories to look back on. And, may your new year be bright and filled with all that is be be manifested.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you! 


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