Not exactly a fruitcake.

by statia on December 21, 2012

I think over the past six years, I’ve wanted to figure out some sort of family tradition that we could do with our kids so that they would remember the holidays. And it was always “when they’re older.” And now I’m the parent of children. Not babies, but full fledged CHILDREN people. I like to go big when it comes to stuff like this. I’m so fiercely nostalgic. I reminisce of days of old. When I was a kid, I once got to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade out of an office building window. One of the best memories is being able to see those gigantic balloons at eye level. And ever since then, the parade was a staple in my house.

As life has gotten busier, I end up skipping out on a lot of things in lieu of time. Which is the worst thing to do. And since I gave myself the year off on Christmas cards this year (Thanks Donna for putting that out there), I figured I had to at least start some sort of tradition. But what? I’d love to take them to see the Nutcracker (or maybe take LG as a treat for something that’s just the two of us). Radio City Music Hall?

This year they’re still a little bit too young for that. Instead I focused more on thinking of others. A first Christmas lesson that will be valuable in all other areas of life. This year I made each of them not only pick out a gift for each other, but also for another child. Something that they could donate to a child in need. Given my love of making memories and traditions, I love the idea of Santa, but it’s hard to explain why Santa is bringing presents for them, but not others. It’s a slippery slope. Thankfully they haven’t started questioning that yet, and I hope that the excitement on their faces come Christmas eve (so that they can fully appreciate each other’s gifts) will hit the point home.

At least for the five minutes before they start fighting.

I’d love to hear your traditions.


Tommie December 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I love your idea of teaching them to give back. My girls are older than your two and I haven’t quite got that lesson passed on to them, other than giving them both a dollar to put in the bucket by the Salvation Army bell ringer.

We do let the girls open one present on Christmas Eve and, as the oldest pointed out just today, it’s always new pajamas. But it’s fun to wear new jammies to bed on Christmas Eve and for them to be wearing pajamas that actually fit in the few pictures we take on Christmas morning.

Susannah December 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm

We always do the pajama thing too… years ago, they were all handmade by my grandmother which was CRAZY. But now they are just cute and comfy.

When we were younger, we decorated Christmas cookies as a family. It sounds… mundane, I know. But actually? It was one of my very favorite traditions and one that I really hope to revive one day. There was a huge spread with sprinkles and lots of colors of icing and a huge basket of cookie cutters and we just all four went to town.

At my grandmother’s house we always made a gingerbread house and that was fun too.

We do a puzzle every year as a family, we try and finish it by Christmas Day. I’ve spent several wine-soaked nights lingering over those damn puzzles… which I guess makes that one more of a grown up tradition.

We always did an angel tree shopping trip as a family too. And if I remember correctly, it was explained to us that “You know how you get things from Santa and from mom and dad? Well some kid’s moms and dads need a little help with that and so that’s what we are doing.” So I think with an explanation like that, you can get around the whole Santa Claus thing. I’m pretty sure that I never really gave it much thought after my mom told me that. We just had a good time picking out toys for kids who were around our ages.

statia December 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I love the puzzle idea! I love puzzles, but we usually end up just sitting in front of the TV. They may be a little young to do the big ones yet. The cookies, while I love the idea, is a bit harder, because I have to try so hard to limit their red dye 40 intake (along with other colors). It makes me sound like an asshole, and one of “those parents” but I can’t handle the tantrums and shit attitudes the next few days. And natural sprinkles just aren’t the same.

jen January 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

That pick a present for another kid tradition is WIN. I’m stealing it for later.

We made chocolates at Christmas. It started as an activity that Mom picked for her day with my Girl Scout troop (hell, it might even have been Brownies–I forget when that switched over and also when I quit). We used cheap-ass molds from I don’t even know where and awful (but addictive) melty chocolate discs.

Eventually, two things happened: Everyone liked the peanut butter or other filled chocolates better (because the chocolate on its own was like bad advent calendar chocolate), and all my cousins got old enough to help–we became a chocolate FACTORY to supply the December of goodies table in my mom’s salon. We packaged the best ones up for teacher gifts and took trays to the family celebrations. I shudder to think how many we actually made each year. If I start this up again with a kid of my own, there are some things I would change…starting with the chocolate used.

We also had the “PJs on Christmas Eve” tradition. :)

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