I am one of those people who is ready for Pumpkin Spice Lattes during the last week of August and plays Christmas music the last week of October. I get so excited for holiday traditions and am so ready for the next season by the time the current season is ending that I can’t seem to reel in my excitement. This year, I really told myself that I would wait until mid-November to turn on Christmas tunes. That’s when the radio stations start playing Christmas music, so it seems like a socially safe bet, right? As Halloween crept up, I talked myself into waiting until at least November 1. But, no, I started playing the very old Christmas classics – Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Berry, Ella, Cash, Perry Como – right after my birthday. I need to accept that every November 1 – or sooner!, I start the holiday celebrations. It’s a tradition.
I love traditions. Growing up, they created the great memories of my childhood, whether it was the Saturday nights listening to the “oldies” station while driving to my at my aunt and uncle’s cabin on the river, sitting outside by the river roasting s’mores at the bonfire, or driving around looking at Christmas light displays in the station wagon with my family (and so many more). One of my absolute favorite traditions was our family being assigned another family at church to “secret Santa”. We would bake and drop off cookies and treats at the family’s door, ring the bell, and run! Traditions are so great. They are reliable. Comfortable. Exciting. Unique and personal. They fill me up with a sense of joy and brightness, and most importantly, they create happy memories.
And I want my girls to have happy childhood memories.
I sent off an email to family earlier this month asking what the holidays plans were shaping up to be. I found myself telling everyone that Nathan and I would be hosting our “third annual” prime rib Christmas dinner, and I thought to myself, third annual?! That’s officially a tradition, right?! The first year we started this, Maxine was about seven weeks old and my in-laws were visiting for the holidays. We didn’t want to go anywhere for any holiday that year and decided to invite everyone to our house for Christmas. It was so much fun that we decided to do it last year as well. We expect to continue to host Christmas dinner for any family or friend who wants a warm home to celebrate the holiday.
After giving traditions some thought, I listed all the fun activities we plan to participate in for the third year in a row.
- Nathan, Maxine and I went for breakfast and then cut down our Christmas tree;
- Maxine makes her third trip to visit Santa in downtown Seattle this weekend;
- We will make a drive with hot cocoa to marvel at the neighborhood Christmas light displays; and,
- Maxine gets an ornament for the tree that represents her year (this year, it’s a shark, which has been her big obsession), which she will be able to take with her when she starts her own Christmas traditions one day.
We have some new activities this year that I hope become traditions now that Maxine is two and old enough to participate: baking Christmas cookies; giving boxes of cookies to friends, neighbors and family; participating in Operation Christmas Child; making a new Christmas tree ornament; and, opening a daily advent calendar. I was planning on doing the Elf on the Shelf, but I prefer to make it about kindness, and that is something I feel we can work on year-long, not exclusively at Christmas.
Have you considered your favorite traditions as a child? What traditions do you have as an adult?