At the beginning of this year I had posted a picture on my “Renee’s Revelings” Facebook page with my son, Bryan’s, collection of Christmas ornaments. I have had quite a few traditions with my kids over the years, and wanted to share the ones that mean the most me.
When I was a working mom, with four active kiddos I was always paying attention to things that I wanted to incorporate as traditions for us at home. Holiday traditions, summer traditions, and just plain old family traditions. Can you tell I’m a traditionalist at heart?
One of my favorite “traditions” was with the kids friends. When any of them had a friend over for dinner they were always considered a guest in our home the first three times they had dinner at our table. (I honestly cannot remember how I arrived at the number three.) After that I always told their friends you’re no longer a guest now you’re part of the family. Which was heart-warming for the friend, but my kids knew it meant I expect your friends to help out with serving dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I was usually the one doing the cooking.
During the summer months I had this tradition of taking the kids out for an ice cream after dinner. The kids would be all bathed and clean and in their pajamas. I’d say, “Hey let’s go get an ice cream! Don’t change you can just go in your pj’s. Pajama run!!!” And then we’d all head for the car and the kids would be giggling all the way because they’d go out at night in their pajamas. Such fun memories.
Whenever we went to the beach during the summer I’d be sure and stop for an ice cream treat on the way home. Are you noticing my ice cream loving pattern here? They still talk about the places we used to stop on the way home. Such fun times piling everyone in the car along with all the gear for a day of sand and surf!
My holiday traditions with the kids are the ones that are the most precious to me, and the ones I know they will carry with them into their own homes. Since my oldest daughter was a baby, and on her first Christmas in 1981, I bought her an ornament each year to commemorate the holiday. The ornaments were the most precious of all of our family traditions for me. Every year I would buy a special ornament for each one of the kids and paint their names and the year on each one. I knew that one day they would be leaving the nest, and that collection of ornaments would go with them to start their first Christmas in their own houses with memories of their childhood. Some years I would buy them all them same ornaments; Santa’s, or snowmen, or nutcrackers. Other years I bought them ornaments based on a trip we had taken that year, or some place they had been, or a hobby they were interested in. My oldest daughter has already continued this tradition with her own kids, and I hope she knows that she is creating memories that will last a lifetime. That is precious to me.
As this New Year began and I was taking down our Christmas tree and the decorations I packed up my oldest son’s decorations for the last time. I put them in a box with all of his other personal decorations that he will take with him to his own home later this year. I will admit that I did get a little teary eyed during this process. You see he’s the last one of our kids to take his beloved ornaments with him as he leaves the place he’s called home for over 25 years. He’ll be getting married in the fall of this year, and have his own box of ornaments to decorate his first Christmas tree with in his own home. That warms my heart knowing that his childhood memories and the collection of ornaments that he grew up with will live on each and every holiday season.
For me traditions, memories, collections, and pictures are the core of our family history. They are those little things that remind you of the warmth and the love of your home. Or maybe certain traditions remind you of your parents, or grandparents. The things that are important and special to you will last a lifetime, and are always the most meaningful.