Growing up we always got together with my mom's family for Thanksgiving. Then the cousins piled in the car and went to my aunt and uncle's house where we helped decorate their tree and spent the night. The next day we would all come back to my parents' house and paint Christmas ornaments.
I have the ornaments I painted since I was five years old It is fun to see how my skills grew and remember the milestones, like getting to move up to a 3D ornament rather than just the 2D. I can look at my mom's ornaments and see how I tried to imitate her techniques. But it is more than the ornaments; it is the memory of us all gathered at the table painting that fills my heart.
My daughter does not have a ton of cousins like I do. And the cousins she has are much older and living in a different state. It is harder to recreate the memory the way I had it. But I can create those memories with her.
I realize my daughter is only two years old. But I figure with her spunk and personality she was more than ready this year to start kicking off some traditions. Out came the ornaments and paint and she just loved getting to pick colors from my big box of paints. It only took her about five minutes and her constant asking for a new color meant my ornament didn't get painted until she was napping; but it was a start all the same. It was a memory made that I will cherish.
I have heard traditions of putting baby Jesus in the manger. I've heard of reading a certain story on a certain evening. There is one of making a gratitude jar throughout the year and then making the best into an ornament. I think one of my favorites was a family that put straw in the manger one piece at a time. Each time they did a good deed or helped someone they put one piece of straw in the manger as they worked to make it comfortable for baby Jesus' arrival. I love that as it seems to really bring in the spirit of the holiday.
I'm grateful for all the traditions we had growing up. I'm grateful for the beautiful memories it made. I'm grateful to keep some of those for my daughter and give her some traditions to look forward to each year. I'm grateful to hear other beautiful traditions as I decide which ones to use for my own family. I'm grateful to keep an open mind to different cultures and different traditions that also happen throughout the year. I'm grateful for traditions that personalize the season like the ornaments for the tree. And I'm grateful for traditions that happen throughout the year.
What are some of your favorite traditions? Which ones have you kept from childhood and which ones have you added os an adult?
May today lift our spirits to the true celebration of the season. May we find the traditions that resonate joy and continue them with the ones we love. Have a beautiful day!