To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Time for Traditions

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye 
have been taught...~2Thes.2:15

I love traditions. There is a sense of nostalgia about traditions that just gives me a good feeling when I think about them. I didn't really grow up with a lot of traditions. My husband, however, did and so since they mean so much to him we've adopted some of them for our own family and come up with a few of our own. I hope that when my kids are older some of these things that we're doing to make occasions special and memorable will stay with them.
Each Thanksgiving we spend with Ben's family we like to try and set aside a time to meditate on God's word and remember all that He has done for us and all we have to be thankful for. This year, we wanted something that would get the kids involved since some of them were old enough to participate. I found a tree made of card stock online and made some leaves. This would be our "Thankfulness Tree". Each of the kids decorated leaves and we all took one and wrote what we were thankful for this year. Then we went around and shared with everyone and put the leaf on the tree. I think everyone really enjoyed it and I believe this will become one of my families new Thanksgiving traditions. 

One of Ben's Christmas traditions is decorating sugar cookies. Each year his mom would make a bunch and they'd all ice them and decorate them together. I never did this until I married into the family. It's so much fun and the kids just love it. It was a little early to do it at Thanksgiving but we had most of the cousins and siblings together so I thought it would be a fun activity for "Black Friday". As you can see, everyone had a great time!
Then there's the Christmas tree! Growing up we were NOT allowed to help decorate the tree. But, we did have our own little tree in the basement that we were allowed to decorate ourselves with all the old and hand-made ornaments. When I've told this story to people who were allowed to help with the tree they often gasp and think what a horrible thing this was and how sad it must have made us. Really it didn't. We didn't know anything different plus we got the colored lights!!! Now as a grown-up I see where my mom was coming from. It is a tad bit annoying to have so many little hands around trying to touch everything, begging for colored lights (which now I hate!) and just not understanding the system! BUT...I also know how special these times are. The memories we make with them now will last a lifetime and them having memories of helping with the tree far outweighs any memory I'll have of the perfect looking tree. So, while I still can't bring myself to allow just any ornament on the tree, I do let them put the "acceptable" ones on wherever they want! Even if I have two of the exact same snowflakes right next to each other! This is progress for me folks! This year I only had the older two boys to help me as the younger ones are off making memories with Matante Tina, Uncle Adam & their cousins. I hope you and your families have traditions that make the holidays special for you. I'd love to hear what they are...who knows, I may like it so much that I'll start doing it myself! 
Despite the look on their faces, I think they had fun!


  1. My kids have their own tree (with white lights!) and they can move the ornaments any where/time they want. I did let them help with the 'family' tree last year but rearranged some of their choices . . . when they were in bed. If I look at the tree and squint and I see too much of something clumped in one area, I have to move it. I tried this year to get them to step back from their tree and look at what they were doing but they were so focused on getting it decorated that there was no pausing.

  2. Love the idea of the Thankful tree. I might steal that idea for next year! Traditions are fun. I am hoping to start one this year with Jack (and ethan even though he is young) but we are going to bake cookies and bring them to the nursing home up the street. My dad does monthly services there and the residences love when the kids are there. I think it will be a good tradition focused on others since so many of our traditions are focused on us.
    One of my favorite traditions though is Christmas Eve - we host at our house and make homemade Chinese Food! It is fun. And my dad always makes homemade fried dough (like the kind from the fair) on Christmas morning. I am glad we live across the street because I would miss that one :) I guess most of our traditions are about food :) ha ha. Your tree looks great!

  3. Andrea-I think that is such a great idea about the cookies to the nursing home. Ben and I used to be involved in the nursing home ministry at our old church. He played piano and I remember the residents just loving the kids. We only had the two at that time. And having a tradition focused on others is such a great way to remind the kids that Christmas isn't about the gifts. I hope you guys have a great time this year!