Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk Traditions

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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

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Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Since my kids are quite young I am still figuring out what I want our family traditions to look like. Certainly, I already incorporate a few things that I grew up with and hold dear to my heart, but I want to add on a few things that are uniquely ours. Here is where I am at so far.

Birthday Traditions

Can you see my Happy Birthday banner?

Last year I made a Happy Birthday banner and now every time it’s someone’s birthday we hang it up. You know how some people get sentimental about Christmas ornaments? Well I plan on a big sentimental cry fest over the Happy Birthday banner for many years to come. I may even make another one so when the girls move out they can both have one to take to college with them.

Christmas Traditions

I always start off the Christmas season by going to the Waldorf Christmas Fair. With the opportunity to buy from local artisans and craftspeople, I get a lot of my Christmas shopping done, make a Christmas wreath with my daughters, travel into a sweet-smelling Cookie Cavern for a sugar cookie hanging from the ceiling and walls, and hear a magic and wonder-filled story or two while basking in the spirit of the season. I haven’t missed a fair in five years and I hope I never do. They are soul-filling-ly beautiful.

I grew up with fresh baking. My mom bakes, my step-mom bakes, my grandma bakes, and I bake too. I try not to overdo it too much but I bake at least 5 different kinds of cookies and squares to have on hand for visitors. I start this around mid-December and keep them in the deep freeze. Sometimes I sneak one or two, or three or four…. I have a couple of standby’s, compliments of friends with talent who shared their recipes a few years ago. I also like to try something new.

When we were kids my mom always bought my brother and I advent calendars with the cheap little chocolates inside. I loved them until I was about 20, and then I realized how gross the chocolate is and made sure I didn’t get one again – plus, hello, I was 20! Time to stop the advent calendars mom! My kids got them for a couple years until I put a stop to that. I like the idea of making my own and while we haven’t ventured further than the paper chain advent that you snip off each night up until December 24th, I really want to find a meaningful way to count down to Christmas. Last year we made a couple last minute advent calendars. We tried a giving jar which was awesome, but we found it hard to keep up with doing each good deed each day of the month. Maybe I made some of our goals too difficult to attain, so I’ve shelved that idea until I can’t find something better. One idea I like that I found at Living Peacefully With Children is this Solstice calendar. I just need to start sewing in October to make sure it gets done by December 1st!

Decorating the Christmas tree and our ornaments are a very important part of past, present and future traditions. For one, Christmas music must be playing! Every year growing up my brother and I received a new ornament so I have passed this tradition down to my kids. Of course this means we can never have a designer tree. Instead, it’s filled with stories of Christmases past, old loves, cherished relatives who have passed on, good friends and fun times. In fact, I think the most at home I have felt in our new home came when I opened the box of our ornaments this week and fondly remembered my years of doing daycare and the many, many ornaments and decorations we made when my kids were toddlers.

When I was growing up my brother and I created the tradition of not being able to see the Christmas tree until our parents were awake on Christmas morning. There was something about us all seeing the presents under the tree for the first time that was special for us, and I still do this, even though everyone thinks I’m crazy for wanting to continue with it.

Last year's Santa and reindeer offering.

On Christmas Eve I help the girls write a letter to Santa and leave a plate of Christmas baking and a glass of water for Santa and a bowl of water for the reindeer. (Mommy Claus doesn’t like milk and we tell the girls that Santa is probably tired of milk and would like a glass of water instead). When the kids are asleep I eat the cookies and leave a thank you note. I get around the outright lie about Santa by telling them that he is magical, just like fairies, just like real magic. We don’t know how it works, we don’t ever see the “real” Santa, we just choose to believe in magic, and if grown ups can choose to believe in magic then they can believe in Santa forever.  Do you believe in Santa? I do.

My oldest poses for her requisite stocking-opening photo in her new pajamas.

The kids get to open one present on Christmas Eve and it is always a pair of pajamas. My mom did this for me and I loved knowing I was getting some nice fresh jammies to wear for Christmas photos the next morning. This nicely allows my husband to check something off his list regarding Christmas traditions too. He grew up with French Canadian traditions where they had their big meal on Christmas Eve and opened up presents after Christmas Mass. Yes, as in 1:00 in the morning! I don’t get it. What’s the point of Christmas if it’s over before it starts? One gift, that’s it, is what I say. Lucky for me he isn’t tied to his traditions like I am!

Because it's important to look foolish at the dinner table.

For Christmas dessert I make my famous Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Even though I don’t really eat tofu anymore I will make this again anyway because it is so good and is something I have always done, or at least since I was about 19.

I blame thank my mom for my rigid tradition following ways. Stockings before presents. Family must all be gathered before opening gifts can commence. Silly paper hats must be worn at the dinner table. Tree not to go up before December 10th (no reason by the way). While I am not interested in breaking any of the traditions I already follow I do desperately want to include some more. I know I know. I’m crazy for wanting more work for myself but some of the small things that other people do are so cool. And its the small stuff that interests me.

Some families I know have the most awesome traditions. My friend Victoria hides a pickle in her Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets to open the first Christmas present. I LOVE this game, but unfortunately I don’t have a fake pickle and don’t relish (pun intended) the idea of a real one dripping pickle juice on my fir boughs.

Another friend celebrates Christmas on Winter Solstice so she and her family can have a separate meaningful day together and then enjoy Christmas Day with extended family a few days later. Since I too celebrate Solstice I thought I might adopt this tradition myself but I can’t come around to it since my own traditions are so tightly wound up in December 25th.

I’m dying to read about and hear about your holiday traditions. I may have to steal some of the really good ones. Can you suggest some for me? Tell all in the comments section.

  • Our Holiday Traditions, New and Old — Even with three young children, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is finding ways to be intentional and meaningful about holiday traditions. (@sunfrog)
  • Our Cupcake CustomAmy at Anktangle knows celebrations need minimal excuse and lots of cupcakes! (@anktangle)
  • On the bunny slope of tradition-makingJessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is finding her groove as a holistic-minded mama with a joyful holiday spirit. (@crunchychewy)
  • No, Virginia, There Is Not a Santa Claus — Just because her family is not going to do Santa, does not mean that Sheila at A Gift Universe can’t instill some mystery and magic into Christmas. (@agiftuniverse)
  • New TraditionsBecky at Future Legacy shares a few traditions she is starting for her family, including popovers, a birthday banner, and service.
  • My Holiday Family TraditionsThe Artsymama continues a long tradition of adopting family members and sharing two favorite games that work well for a crowd.
  • Mindfully Creating Family TraditionsAlison at BluebirdMama has ideas for celebrating birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas — though her family’s still figuring some of it out. (@bluebirdmama)
  • Memorable TraditionsLori Ann at MamaWit follows four mindful steps when instituting any tradition.
  • Let’s Talk TraditionsLily, aka Witch Mom shares her family’s traditions that are centered on the wheel of the year. (@lilyshahar)
  • Homeschool ChristmasDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now did not always celebrate the Christmas season in the same way with her family, but they always celebrated together. (@DebChitwood)
  • Holidays, food and family — For Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood, the holidays are about family and food. (@crunchymamato2)
  • Giving Christmas to the CritterRachael at The Variegated Life has found a way to tie her Zen practices to the Christmas story of the baby in the manger. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Family Traditions + To Santa Or Not To Santa — Stop by Natural Parents Network to discover some of the traditions from other natural parents. NPN is also featuring snippets of posts from NP bloggers on the topic of whether to encourage children to believe in Santa Claus. (@NatParNet)
  • Family Tradition OriginsMomma Jorje discusses her family’s traditions, and her desire not to make anyone feel obligated to conform to them.
  • Everyday Traditions — For Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children it’s the small, daily traditions that make life special.
  • Establishing Traditions and Older Child AdoptionMrsH at Fleeting Moments is trying to find ways to start traditions with a family that was made very quickly through birth and adoption.
  • Emerging Family TraditionsMelodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares some of her favorite birthday and Christmas traditions. (@bfmom)
  • Does Rebellion Count?Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante has instituted a day of rest and PJs at her house on Christmas. (@seonaid_lee)
  • December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family TraditionsSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker tries to give her girls a mix of traditions to foster togetherness — but worries that not being near extended family is a disconnect.
  • Craft-tea Christmas CelebrationsLucy at Dreaming Aloud created a delicious Christmas tradition that she named “Craft-tea.”
  • A Christmas TraditionLuschka at Diary of a First Child knows that even though she won’t be able to have her usual holiday traditions this year, the important thing is that she has her family. (@lvano)
  • Celebrations without the HolidayAsha at Meta Mom shares several ways to celebrate the winter holidays without focusing on religious traditions. (@metamomma)
  • Celebrating the Journey We Have Traveled TogetherAcacia at Be Present enjoys the chance to draw closer to her family during the Christmas holiday.
  • Celebrating Motherhood — Do you celebrate the day you became a mother? Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers some ideas for traditions to mark your passage into motherhood. (@CodeNameMama)
  • Celebrate! Winter Traditions Brought Home. — At True Confessions of a Real Mommy, TrueRealMommy and her family are celebrating many different religions and traditions this month. Stop by to see their schedule of events. (@TrueRealMommy)
  • “Always Ready”, Holiday StyleAmy at Toddler In Tow discovered that it’s not the traditions themselves, but the emotional experience behind them that makes them special.
  • Related Posts with Thumbnails

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    26 Responses to “Emerging Family Traditions”

    1. #1 Michelle Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 5:24 am
    2. #2 Homeschool Christmas | LivingMontessoriNow.com Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 6:20 am
    3. #3 New Traditions | Future Legacy Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 9:09 am
    4. #6 Jackie @ Crest Cottage Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 11:09 am
    5. #7 Dionna @ Code Name: Mama Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 11:45 am
    6. #8 Giving Christmas to the Critter Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    7. #9 Traditions: Does Rebellion Count? « The Practical Dilettante Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm
    8. #11 Kristen @ Adventures in Mommyhood Says:
      December 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    9. #12 Simple Family Advent Traditions Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm
    10. #13 Parenting: Family Meetings – A Timeless Tradition Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    11. #14 Sybil Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    12. #15 tradition! « very, very fine Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 6:12 pm
    13. #16 A Christmas Tradition | Diary of a First Child Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm
    14. #17 Everyday Traditions | living peacefully with children Says:

      December 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    15. #18 Momma Jorje Says:

      December 15, 2010 at 2:36 am
    16. #20 Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now Says:

      December 15, 2010 at 4:44 am
    17. #21 Bluebirdmama Says:

      December 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
    18. #22 Kat Says:

      December 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm
    19. #23 Lauren @ HoboMama Says:

      December 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm
    20. #24 Marisol Perry Says:

      December 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm
    21. #25 Michele Foley Says:

      December 29, 2010 at 5:00 am

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