Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Family Traditions

I saw a family traditions journal in a catalog.  It is meant to be used to record the memories and habits that make your family special.  Truly, this item belongs to the category of "what to give to the person who already has everything" and yet the notion of thinking about and writing down the repeated actions -- both large and small -- that bring meaning and joy to a family is a nice idea.
So here are some of the things that I treasured as I grew up:
  • Choosing what we'd have for dinner on my birthday (usually spaghetti with meat sauce).
  • Using the fine china (but the wheat set, never the gold-rimmed set) and the good glasses for special meals.
  • Crackers and dip on the reindeer plate.
  • Attending Christmas Eve church services.
  • Trying to "catch" Santa by tracking the apples we left for his reindeer, while by parents ever upped the ante with footprints from the fireplace, etc.
  • Opening stockings and Christmas presents one at a time to really appreciate each gift.
  • The Creche set my grandmother made... and moving the Wise Men as Epiphany grew closer.
  • Renting a house by a lake for a week in the summer.  Swimming all day.
  • Playing board games together.
  • Sunday night dinners by the fire in the Storey Ave. house followed by popcorn served in wooden bowls.
  • Getting up really early for Easter Egg hunts.  So early that we had plenty of time to get ready before the 8 am church service.
  • Giving my dad all the black jellybeans (he was the only one who liked them).
  • The speckled eggs that tasted like malted milk balls from my grandmother.
  • Growing up in the '80s in a house that had been in the family since the '40s.
And some of my favorite family traditions now:
  • Hearing two details of my boys' day every night at dinner.
  • Taking turns choosing songs when we ride in the car together.
  • Halloween parties.
  • Choosing and decorating our Christmas tree together.
  • Holidays at my sisters'.
  • Our poker competitions (with a trophy for the winner).
  • Monopoly marathons in PA.
  • The perfect foursome for golf.
12/6/2011 update: see the related articles Tips for Starting a Family Holiday Tradition and 33 Fun Christmas Activities.

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