family traditions: a new family

As we have spent the past five years growing our family we have a few things we have come to see. Together my husband and I have created a “new normal.” You will hear me (and him) talk about this and it is content enough for it’s own post. One I may just need to write.

For now though I’m going to explore just part of our “new normal,” our family traditions. As we have created this “new normal” and our own family unit we have brought with us traditions from our families and created some of our own.

Here are some we carry on from our families:
1. Nicknames get posted on the morning of your birthday.
2. No touching Christmas gifts until the parents are up, and you can’t wake us up.
    (this one is yet to come)
3. Homemade cider in the fall and cocoa in the winter.
4. Resurrection rolls made on Easter.
5. I make a Christmas ornament each year as my gift to family.
6. Banging pots and pans to ring in the new year.
7. Making and delivering May Day baskets to loved ones or neighbors.
8. Christmas story read from the Bible each year by Papa (or Grandpa).
9. A Christmas book each year and the tradition of Advent.
10. Santa pictures each year.
11. Many traditional recipes we use.
12. Time on the water: clamming, crabbing, walking, collecting.

Traditions we have started with our family:
1. Getting our Christmas Tree in the Olympic National Forest – a journey there with friends and lunch made in the back of a truck often accompanies this tradition.
2. We fill our stockings with slips of paper we write on – addressed to each other. They are filled with things we are thankful for, memories we have from the past year that are special, or events we just want to remember. On Christmas morning we read the ones in our own stocking aloud and create a family paper link chain to decorate our tree. (I save a few years worth to review too!)
3. A special birthday plate is made for each little one just after they are born and used each year on their birthday.
4. Creating a thankful tree during November.
5. Trip to local pumpkin farms, Christmas light displays, and community tree lighting.
6. Canadian Friendsgiving
7.  For Christmas we will have a 5-finger rule. 5 gifts – need, want, wear, read, give.
8. Give monthly and write to our sponsor child – Arnold Joel.
9. Elf on the Shelf
10. A seasonal or holiday book is purchased for each child, at each holiday or season change, so they have a special collection of books that come out at different times.
11. An annual Christmas letter that includes a verse that is our motto for the year.

I honestly could go on and on. We are a traditions kind of family. I think we have realized that it’s part of our identity. We love to celebrate and make people feel celebrated. Birthdays are a big deal and we like to have a party for almost anything. Or maybe you could say we see anything as a chance to party.

Not every family is one for tradition and I have to remind myself, that as special as these traditions are, it is okay to alter or stray from them sometimes. We will have Christmas away someday! It’s a dream and it’s okay, even exciting, to stray from tradition sometimes. We changed our Pumpkin Patch tradition this year to accommodate for our little one and our budget. Sometimes things change because we want them to, sometimes because they have to.

But our desire is for memories to be made and deep relationships to grow – that is how we will prioritize and make our family decisions. We are so blessed.

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  1. I am all about traditions!!! I sometimes have a hard time accepting change : ( but like you said, "Sometimes things change because we want them to, sometimes because they have to". This year traditions will be changing in my family and I need to remind myself that that is okay!!!!

  2. I love it! My family always had the Christmas morning tradition of everyone being dressed, and staying upstairs until everyone was up and ready before coming down for stockings (no even looking at the tree!), then we would have breakfast and THEN get to open gifts. Huge lesson in patience for us as kids! I am going to see if the hubby is willing to do that with our kiddos someday 🙂

    1. That's some serious patience. We were allowed to come down and look but not turn on any lights (only the tree lights and one small lamp were left on for us). We would spend a great deal of time looking, whispering, and pointing when our parents would finally "wake up" and join us. Now I know they were wide awake and listening to our sweet whispers.

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