Monday, December 08, 2008

Creating Your Own Traditions

We always invite my mother over to spend Christmas morning with us. A couple of years ago, as my children opened their socks and pulled out the apples and oranges inside, my mother said, “Now, kids, you’d better eat everything in your socks because your mommy’s not cooking breakfast today.” My little five-year-old’s eyes filled with tears.

You see, in my home of origin, my mother hated making breakfast on Christmas. She’d put fruit and nuts in our socks, and that was our morning meal. However, I enjoy making breakfast. I think having something warm and hearty to eat helps set the tone for the day. My children had gone to the store with me and they saw me buy hot chocolate mix and orange juice to supplement the meal. Now, to be told I wasn’t making it? What a disappointment!

I explained to my mother I actually had every intention of making Christmas morning breakfast, I didn’t mind, and I enjoyed it. This was so different from her own experience, she was quite flabbergasted. But she did knock back her own fair share of cocoa.

When we establish a home of our own, we determine which traditions we’re going to bring with us. Your spouse also grew up with traditions that might differ from yours, and so there’s some compromise that goes on. With any luck, the two of you will decide which traditions fit best with this new family you’ve created, and you’ll stumble upon some of your own, as well. The trick is to carry on the traditions that fit you and your situation, not those you feel duty-bound to perform because that’s how it’s always been done.

You’ll also find refinements to old traditions. Your children will share with you their fond memories from the years before, and you’ll know which activities were hits and which were merely a drain on time and resources.

It’s wonderful to carry on traditions from one generation to the next. But we should choose with care just how we’ll implement them. The most important traditions are those of kindness, charity, selflessness, and a feeling of worship at this holiday season. As long as those things are manifest, it really doesn’t matter whether you do or do not make Christmas morning breakfast. Everything else is just icing on the cinnamon rolls.

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Anna said...

I am to the point that I want to start having our own family traditions. Our two little kids are finally to the point that they are understanding Christmas and everything that happens. They understand that we put a tree up, sing Christmas songs, look at lights, give and get presents, etc.

Before we had kids, my husband and I would just stay up until midnight and open our presents that we already knew we were going to get from each other.

Christmas is getting excited again, with our kids excited to see Santa at the store, and I want to start some Christmas traditions. One that I am doing is every year I buy a new ornament to put on the tree for each kid. By the time they are teenagers, we may have too many ornaments. I pick one that kind of represents who they are or what they are interested in at the time. My son got a train ornament, and my daughter got a kitty ornament. One year my son got an Elmo ornament. So when they move out of the house, I will give them all their ornaments and they will have a start on decorations for their tree.

I also want to collect some Christmas books that we can read. My mom always made a morning breakfast on Christmas. I personally hate cooking breakfast. So unless I am ambitious, my kids may be having their Christmas socking orange and apple for breakfast. :)

Jen said...

When I was growing up, we always had a big breakfast on Christmas morning. Either mom would make breakfast casserole, refrigerate it over night and then bake it while we opened our gifts, *or* dad would whip up a mess of eggs & bacon & toast.

DH's family has a different tradition--MIL always made cinnamon rolls on Christmas eve for her children when they were growing up, to eat on Christmas morning. I love cinnamon rolls, but it just isn't *right* for Christmas morning. MIL felt they were perfect for Christmas morning, and continues to make them for all her grown childrens families--even ours, even though DH didn't like them and his traditional Christmas breakfast was a banana! So we started eating the cinnamon rolls on Christmas eve before bed (or leaving them out for Santa) and we have whatever we feel like on Christmas morning--but oddly, it usually isn't breakfast casserole or eggs. And that's OK. LOL.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

One of my favorite parts of being married and having my own family is carrying on my favorite family traditions and creating new ones together. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite traditions!

Holly said...

Terrific post Tristi. We've taken some favorite traditions from my childhood and from my husband's in England, and we've also created our own. And breakfast is one of them, although we do muffins.

Lynne said...

When I was a kid, we always went to my step-sister's house on Christmas day - she had little kids and little ones should be in their own home with their toys on Christmas.

After I was married and had kids, my parents would come to our house on Christmas Eve to help decorate the tree. We would have sandwiches for dinner - nothing special. Then they would come back on Christmas after the kids had opened their presents and spend part of the day before heading to my step-sister's house.

Now my children are grown, with my older daughter having children of her own. We still have Christmas Eve here at my house - sandwiches for dinner - and the granddaughters open their presents from us. Then they spend Christmas day at their own house. We (Dom and I) stay home and eat leftovers on Christmas day.

There have been times I've wanted to call it all off - times when the kids have gotten "not nice to be around" - but we can't break the tradition. So on Christmas Eve, we'll be here at my house - but maybe this year we'll have pizza instead!

Keith Fisher said...

can I come to your house for breakfast? I've had your breakfast burritos and I know how good a cook you are.

I think I'll start a new tradition. There will be three of us on Christmas morning.

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