Saturday, November 7, 2009

Traditions and Thanksgiving

I remember for the first few years of my marriage telling my hubby that I really wanted to start some fun traditions with our family. We often just followed the lead of the older family members and left all the family planning to them. We always had a great time and appreciated the family get-togethers, but I still always felt as if something was missing in our own home. I knew in my heart that my job as a young mother was to create a home with love and happiness every day. I earnestly desired to do this while my children were young so that they would cherish and remember their childhood.

Eleven years later, I am still working on this skill, but I think I’ve come a long way. I feel I have grown - mostly due to so many great role models that have helped me along my path. I have come to love even the word traditions. It induces warm and fuzzy thoughts that certainly increase serotonin in my brain.

I was just reading a friend’s blog who said that for the 25 days before Christmas, she wraps up a Christmas story and her children open one each night and they read it together as a family. Brilliant, I thought! We LOVE reading good stories any time of year, but what a great way to remember the true spirit of Christmas. We have been reading The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck this past week and I highly recommend it as a great family choice. It is heart-wrenching and powerful in teaching the importance of family for Christmas.

Many of you have blessed my life without even knowing it. I have been frequently inspired by your ideas and traditions, and have taken some of those ideas into my own family. Not only does it bless my children, it blesses me with a sense of accomplishment and the fulfillment of a desire that was born when I was just a young wife. Because of this reason, I would like to thank you and also share some ideas that we do as a family that may be of interest to you. Most are simple in nature, but they are smile provoking as they make us happy. As we begin another busy holiday season, I hope we can all remind each other that these are the things our children (and we) will remember, not fancy wrapped gifts. How many of you can remember what you received last Christmas in less than 10 seconds? However, I bet it would only take you 2.2 seconds to remember what you ate, the sounds and smells in your home, visiting family, the smiles on your kids faces, the songs those babes sang through lisps and paci’s, and watching the snow fall together last year.

So, here is a “Cheers” to you all-“To what matters most!” If you so desire, please share your favorite traditions on your blog so we can all share the blessing with others and as a reminder for ourselves what we can do to make each day this holiday season magical and memorable. It thrills me, to say the least!

A Handful of Traditions:
*A slew of homemade soups to warm us on cold nights. Soups are one of my favorite things to cook: Chicken Tortilla, Baked Potato, Corn Chowder, Broccoli Cheese, Chicken Noodle, Chili, and Bean & Ham.
Coming Soon: Thai Coconut.

*Our nightly routine is to read scriptures, a story, and say prayers. This simple activity has helped our family so much!

*We all have our stand-by Thanksgiving foods (turkey, right?). Because of my southern heritage, mine may be a little different than some of yours, and it isn’t Thanksgiving to me without the Cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, homemade rolls and gravy, sweet-potato casserole, beautiful green salad with homemade ranch dressing, pecan pie, banana pudding, and Mama’s fruit salad. MMM… I can’t wait.

*Going to cut our own Christmas tree.

*Homemade Chocolates and Fudge

*We always read The Forgotten Carols and play the songs at the appropriate times. These are some of my favorite carols now too. We hope to extend this activity this year by finding or making our own ornaments that are found in the story and let our children decorate the tree with these ornaments as “Uncle John” tells a beautiful account of the Savior and His birth.

* I always give my children an ornament in their stocking each year-something that reminds me of them and their childhood. One day when they are all grown up (sniff*sniff), they can take their ornaments with them to use with their own families if they so wish.

*We love to see the lighting of the city lights over the pond. There, we freeze and drink hot-chocolate and eat donuts. The kids sing Christmas carols. Beautiful!

*Sledding in the powder snow. And I am promising this year to be more positive and enjoy the winter-time.

*Singing, singing, singing. (Oh, Holy Night is my favorite!)

*Monday Family Home Evenings focused on the Savior. Fun Christmas treats and more music included.

*Making Christmas cookies

*Making a trip to Temple Square to see the lights and feel the Spirit with a thermos of hot chocolate and a warm baby blanket in tow.

* Christmas morning waffles, bacon, and malts. This is a tradition passed on from Wade’s family.

*Making Christmas cards, stockings, and other Christmas crafts.

*And one of my favorites is that Wade always leaves me a beautiful, hand-written love note in my stocking. I look forward to it each year. What a sweetie!

I can’t wait to see what else I can add to the list this year! Thanks again to all of you sweet friends who inspire and enrich my life!


Karin said...

Those are such fun Traditions! My family always did the malts on christmas morning too.(: I love the Forgotten Carols one. Mike and I have taken the girls to the play every other year. We love it. I think I will get the book and do that instead this year to save some money.(: Hope you guys have a great holiday season!

Annie said...

I love your ideas. Growing up, on Christmas Eve by the light of the Christmas tree and some candles my dad would read the story of Jesus' birth out of the New Testament. That is a sweet memory.