I didn’t grow up with a lot of family traditions. My parents were so busy trying to keep up with eight kids some of the finer points got missed. We decorated eggs for Easter and danced dangerous pirouettes with burning sparklers on Independence Day, sure. But quiet gatherings around Dad as he read the Christmas story? No, it was never that quiet. Eggnog and cookies while eight kids pushed and shoved to decorate the tree? Would the living room even have survived?
My children, I’m sad to say, were raised pretty much like I was. Oh, I squeaked in a few more traditions here and there, but having three kids in fewer than four years will suck up most of the energy and good intentions you have. Avoiding accidental death and dealing with whining were the major activities. We’re lucky we all survived.
So now that I have grandchildren I pay better attention to traditions. Okay, I pay attention to the daughter who is very conscious of tradition-making. Now we do annual apple-picking trips, visits to the Christmas light village, and try to do vacations as a group.
I wish we had those fond memories to look back on, both in my childhood and my children’s lives.
But I’m very proud to have instituted a new tradition, all on my own. The Thanksgiving Tree. I printed leaf shapes on goldenrod paper, cut them out with a grandchild, hole-punched them, and tied on loops. Then at a recent family dinner (a weekly tradition), we all sat down and wrote the things we’re thankful for. Some wrote three, some four or even more, until we ran out of leaf shapes.
We read them out loud before hanging them on a little tree in the dining room. There are some other answers, but most say, essentially, “family.”
I think we’re doing okay.