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How To Create A Holiday Tradition

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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?

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  • desiree
    May 6, 2012

    me i decorat out side to t he max and all most goes to the block with a lot of light

  • Karin Beery
    December 9, 2011

    Ever since my family abandoned me and went out West, my Christmas Eve’s have become very loney (Matt works). My friend Shaina doesn’t have any family events that day either. We started going to the Christmas Eve Matinee at the Old State Theater in Traverse City. Last year our friend Hope joined us. We already have plans again for this year!

  • Sarah Kay
    December 9, 2011

    I have a few traditions that were born out of nothing. First, Elliott and I order sushi takeout and watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed. It started cause we just felt like sushi from our favorite spot in Boston on Christmas Eve and that was that. We still do it. And we try to watch a different Christmas movie each year. Also as a kid my parents let us open one present on Christmas Eve night for no apparent reason. I have continued that spin by having my kids open one present, which ALWAYS “happens” to be their Christmas jammies to wear to bed that night and wear all Christmas day. And my kids and watch the NORAD Santa Tracker all day on Christmas Eve. Cause I just think it is the coolest thing EVER!