I wrote last week about the Advent calendar my parents had while I was growing up and that it had a teeny tiny nativity inside it. That little bitty creche is one of my fondest memories of Christmas, even though I don’t think it stuck around for very long. I think we only used it for a few years, but I remember it vividly.
This past week I was at my parent’s house here in Vegas. This is their “winter” home and my mom was unpacking Christmas decorations she’d brought out from their “summer” home in Michigan to decorate for the season. And wouldn’t you know it… she had that teeny tiny nativity scene! Not even knowing that I’d just written about it, she offered the decoration to me. To keep.
I asked my mom about the nativity: where did she get? Why did she get it? It turns out that she’d just picked it up at a local drugstore in the small town I grew up in one Christmas. She didn’t remember why, although it may very well have been to put in the Advent wreath for that season.
When my mom bought that little nativity, she didn’t have a master plan to create a life long memory for me. She just thought it would be a nice addition to our Advent season. And the cost? 89 cents.
I spend so much time worrying and fussing over making sure that my children have “family traditions”. I spend hours searching for the perfect ornament, the perfect tree skirt, or the perfect cookie recipe. I try to get our season timed just perfectly so that it’s something to remember. I try hard to be intentional in our celebrating. Really, though, most traditions just happen on their own. I remember asking a friend once why they at Chinese take out every Christmas Eve. It turns out that one year mom and dad were just too tired to cook so they ordered Chinese and it became a tradition when the kids kept asking for Chinese food on Christmas Eve.
Being intentional is good, but sometimes we need to just relax and let the holidays happen because you never know when something unintentional will become a family tradition.
Do you have any family traditions that were created unintentionally?