Why do families have traditions? We believe it’s for many reasons, but our reason is to make memories and enjoy the season. Some of these family traditions we grew up with, some we adopted from our families, and some we took from other cultures. To us, they are our family traditions, ones where we get to experience the holiday season in our own special way.
Every year we get an ornament for our Christmas tree. We get something that represents a significant event from the year. Since we went to Disney this summer for the first time, we decided we would find something at one of the parks. When we went to Epcot, we searched through many of the countries represented and found a pickle ornament in one of the German shops. You take the pickle and hide it on the tree and the first child to find it gets an extra present or opens the first gift. We are adopting this tradition as our newest for 2023. Wonder who will find the pickle first?
We celebrate Thanksgiving and the Saturday after, we go out and find our live Christmas tree. Our kids are getting older and it’s such a blessing to have them cut the tree down. It’s harder and harder to get up from the ground these days. This year one of them asked why in the world we could cut down a living thing and bring it into our home and decorate it? We didn’t really have an answer for him except to say that it’s tradition.
We send out a Christmas card and letter every year. Yes, we are excited to update everyone, but it truly is for our family to read past years and see all that has happened throughout the years. What difficulties we have endured, what we have had the opportunity to celebrate, our successes and sometimes failures, and the roller coaster we ride every year.
Every year we do a ring and run. Some people call it ding dong ditch. Our kids call it ring and talk and then walk away. We are New Yorkers, we are cautious, and we understand that when someone comes to your door in the evening it better be someone that knows you or has a package. So, we make sure our neighbors know it’s us.
Each year my bonus mom, Betty Ann, builds gingerbread houses with her grandchildren, my sons. When they were younger it was when we went on date nights but now that they are older, they have turned it into a competition. Did I mention I live in a house full of boys? We enjoy seeing the result and the boys love sneaking candy from the houses every now and then.
Every Christmas morning, we have homemade cinnamon rolls and prosciutto egg cups. We don’t have these cinnamon rolls any other time of year but Christmas morning and while I love sweets, we need some protein too so the prosciutto egg cups were born and we started making them about 3 years ago. We have 4 boys in our house, and we all know the way to a man or young man’s heart is through his stomach.
We love Christmas but sometimes it seems so anticlimactic. So much time searching for gifts, online and in stores, wrapping those gifts, prepping food, cooking, and it’s over so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy every part of it. The hunt for gifts for my family and friends, cooking, baking, eating, it’s all such a beautiful thing and a blessing, but oh what a joy to have things planned after December 25th. So, on the eve of January 6th our family puts one shoe out under the Christmas tree, yes, our Christmas tree is still up. We celebrate Reyes Magos, 3 Wiseman’s day and we celebrate the gift the wisemen brought baby Jesus by gifting our kids one item that fits into the shoe. I remember when we were kids, my mom brought my brother a football one year and it fit perfectly into the heel of the shoe. Growing up I had traditions too.
My brother and I went to a boarding school for underprivileged children and my mom would always wait till we returned home to decorate our family tree. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we would put these plastic apples on the tree with fresh candy canes she would buy every year. We would eat them all season long and, of course, they would be gone by the time New Years rolled around. It was such a fond memory for me and made us appreciate the tradition with the 3 of us.
We have found over the years that even though these are the same, year in and year out, we are so grateful to have each tradition. Sometimes the kids complain about it being cold or how many more houses we may need to go to, how long will it take to bake over 200 cookies for ring and run but we know that as they grow, they will carry these traditions on and create some new ones with their families.
Please share YOUR family traditions with us. It’s such a joy to be able to share with you, we would love to read yours too. We hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!