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The Ceremony of Everyday

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This post is from Amy from doobleh-vay. Thank you, Amy!

Traditions and rituals act as the glue that holds the distant fragments of our childhoods intact. When we close our eyes and think back about being children often we recall with clarity the rituals and traditions that were constant. The trips to the lake, the holiday parties and pageants, the birthday crowns, the first day of school breakfast, the bedtime kisses, the special secret code you had with a parent, the Halloween costume making, the valentine boxes… All of the beautiful deliberate motions our parents went through to string meaning between small days.

I have been working on carving out my own family traditions these past couple of years. I really want my boys to have memories that can comfort them and inspire them when they are adults and have their own families. Here are a few of the traditions I am doing:

  • An annual “growing-into-it” birthday photo and future wish boards
  • Acting out a winter solstice duel between the Holly King and the Oak King
  • Pancake Sunday
  • Saving winter snow in the freezer for a snowball fight in July
  • I have been loving a book I bought secondhand a couple years back called The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox.

    It is ace and has a ton of fabulous ideas for starting your own traditions and rituals. Some of my favorites are simple things:

  • One mother and her daughter “touch” the night before bed and it makes the daughter less scared. They open to door and touch the dark air and then go to bed.
  • Another father makes a bottle of monster spray for his son. ( water and a spray bottle) It is solace for him in the night alone.
  • I love the family that makes threshold sheets for each birthday, they take a white bed sheet and draw and write all of the child’s accomplishments for the year and hang it so they must cross under it on their birthday morning.
  • Another mom “kidnaps” her kids from school once a year and lets them plan the whole day off work and school.
  • A family in the book has a reading dinner once a month where everyone can read at the dinner table!
  • One family volunteers at a soup kitchen for their Thanksgiving to show the young children the importance of giving back.
  • In the book there is a section on “vision quests” for older children and it is fascinating.
  • There are tons of amazing Holiday traditions in the book too!
  • I love this book!

    Traditions in families can be so powerful to children. I think they allow for bonding and the creation of strong family ideals. The traditions that you begin now will give your children more and more certainty in their lives. It is the small things that we pass down to our kids that will matter the most. The time we spend together and the love that is cultivated between us as we focus on our family. The world is often harsh and demanding, but allowing children to know that inside the family is safe and secure is priceless. I want terribly for my children to always think of our home and family as a safe haven and a place where magic really does happen.

    What will you pass on to your family? Please leave a family tradition that you practice or hope to someday and let’s build an idea library that will be a source of inspiration.


    • Kate

      I love this! My mom worked hard to create traditions in our family, and you’re absolutely right: while I may not remember what I got for Christmas the year I was 10, I DO know that in my stocking was a can of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds.

      One tradition I’ve started with my kids is a breakfast out to celebrate the 1st day of summer vacation.

      Also, on the night before, or the day of their birthdays, I recount to them the details of the day they were born. It’s part of their legacy to know who was there to welcome them, how mommy and daddy felt, and reminds them of how special they are.

      Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s traditions!

    • cc

      opening new pj’s christmas eve and putting our stockings and letters to santa under the tree. leaving cookies, milk, and carrots out.

      putting our teeth under a glass on the tv.

      leaving out carrots for the easter bunny.

      pork and sauerkraut on new year’s day.

      staying up until we pass out from exhaustion at least nce during the summer

      camping in the front yard

      “outside sleepovers” (as superchic calls them) as a family

    • bethany actually

      My mom used to take me and my brother (and usually some other kids who were in our carpool) to A&W on the last day of school for root beer floats.

      Every summer we’d visit my aunt & uncle in Minnesota and go swimming at Twin Bear Lake.

      Every fall before school started, we would each get a special day out with my mom for lunch and shopping for school supplies and clothes.

      When we went to the thrift store, my mom would give us 50 cents or a dollar to buy whatever books we wanted (back then, kids’ used books were about 10 cents apiece).

      Every New Year’s Eve, we have root beer floats and watch a classic movie that’s new to us.

      We make aebleskiver on Christmas for lunch and usually at least once for breakfast or dinner when we have out-of-town guests.

    • Sarah

      My parents worked hard to ensure that as children my sisters and I had a family life we would remember forever. A few of our traditions were:
      – Putting klompen on our porch for St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 5-6) and waking up to our shoes filled with sweets the next morning.
      – Dinner together as a family every.single.night.
      – Reading chapter books together after dinner, each person a page.
      – My father invented a storybook character that he would tell us stories about. When we had the chickenpox, so did the character. When we were afraid of ghosts, the character encountered a haunted house. Etc. It was a simple, humorous tradition, this one, but my family still talks about those stories to this day.
      – We always eat the same meal when we decorate the Christmas tree: apple slices, crackers, cheeses, sausage and other finger foods.
      – The food of our choice for dinner on our birthday.
      – A pack of Starburst to share together every time we went to Target.
      – Date nights with our parents a few times a year. Just one (or both) of our parents and us, no sibs. We would go out and do anything we wanted: ice skate, have frozen yogurt, buy a book, anything.
      – Spent the night before Thanksgiving at the host’s home and babysat her kids and helped her get ready and make the food.
      – On the drive home from the Christmas Eve gathering, my dad took an extra long time and went past all the homes with tons of Christmas lights.
      – Waffle breakfast every Sunday morning.

      Not all of these happened every year or even happened when I was young, but they are all “traditions” in my mind.

    • Victoria

      Santa always brings us new pjs on Christmas Eve so we have new pjs to sleep in!
      My brother and I have a brussel sprout toss on Thanksgiving (because we think they’re icky!)
      We still have an Easter egg hunt in the house on Easter morning. I never could figure out how my Dad knew where the Easter bunny had put all the good eggs!
      Camping every summer to Coolie Dam.
      When my Grandma was alive, she’d send us money for Christmas and on Christmas Eve we’d go to Chinatown and buy whatever we wanted with the money and then we’d drive around and look at all the houses with the lights.

    • Kate

      I love your traditions. I’m totally stealing the second one. That one has my husband written all over it!

      A lot of the traditions we started fell by the wayside when the twins were born. Three babies under 18 months in the house made for far too much chaos to do anything as organized as a “tradition”. But now that the babies are becoming actual children…we’ll need to revisit those ideas.

    • Melissa

      Love this topic.
      We do Easter Egg hunts in the front yard every Easter morning…my son is now 8″ taller than me and I take out a chair to put some at his level (like in the gutters and trees).
      Michael opens his stocking and yells up to me, in the kitchen, what he got while I get hot chocolate and a light breakfast ready…then we start on the presents.
      At least once a year we have an unplanned ‘road trip’. When Michael was young, up until 10 or so, he was amazed at how spontaneous we were. He gets the map and chooses every direction we drive in. We were spontaneous because the night before I would pack every possibility including a change of clothes (sometimes we would be having too much fun and find a motel to spend the night in!). He thought that was incredibly luxurious.
      We’ve always had a zoo and aquarium and museum membership and that has allowed for some quick and some wandering visits, instead of feeling like we need to rush through and see everything.
      So many ‘traditions’ are so ingrained, I can’t even think of them.
      We always walk to school the first day…even when pouring.
      And, for Labor Day weekend we always spend three days at our local music festival, it is a wonderful end of summer way to relax and enjoy each other and explore each other’s interests.
      Wow, he’s 14…tell me it is not too late to create more traditions!

    • Melissa

      Oh…and a great one for the beach family…yes, BB…I mean you! We take all of our Disney/McDonald toys to the beach with us every year and have a blast making sand castles and recreating scenes from the movies. Someone will make Pocahontas’s village with trees, crops, etc…and next to it will be Tarzan and Hercules trying to escape from Hade’s pit. It is incredible fun even for the teen and adults!