Pondering Tradition…


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I love Christmas, I mean I LOVE Christmas.  It’s always been my most favorite holiday and favorite season.  Maybe it’s because I grew up here in Vermont and had the whole white Christmas experience, maybe it’s because I think a Christmas tree possesses a smidgen of magic, whatever it is, there is just something about this time of year that holds me captive.

As captive as Canaan’s first look at snow!

When I look back on what made this time of year/season/holiday special I think it was the traditions that tug at my mind.  These were the little things I knew I could count on year after year.  Some of the more fun traditions included sitting wedged between my parents in the front seat of the car driving around looking at Christmas lights (when they still made bench seats), my parents allowing me to decorate the tree every year  by myself however I wanted, and opening my Christmas stocking first thing in my parents bed.  Things that were just so-so included Christmas dinner (seemed all too similar to Thanksgiving).  And the worst tradition of all was having to wait until my parents woke up (I swear they only slept in on Christmas day), showered, and had breakfast until we could have a go at what was under the tree.  Regardless of what the tradition was, what made them important in my mind was that they could be counted on to happen every year, they were reliable.

Now that I have a family of my own I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on traditions.  I think it’s important to have your “everyday” traditions and your “especially” traditions.  And Christmas falls into that “especially” category.  I want this season to be as memorable for my kids as it was for me.  I want them to look back on their advent celebration and remember our traditions more than they remember the presents.  So this year I’m taking the bull by the horns and starting some (pretty awesome I might say) family traditions.

What got me super inspired this year was a little advent crafting party my friend, and fellow blogger, Christin Pounds had a few weeks ago.  She found this super easy advent bag tutorial on pinterest, purchased a massive amount of bags, and had a stenciling party.  Since then I’ve been gathering ideas about what I want to put into those bags, the “traditions” I’m going to start this year.  Here’s a sample list of what I’ve come up with so far.

  1. Cut down tree and decorate as family
  2. Choose 5 toys (from the massive pile) from each of my kids to give away
  3. Make a craft/gift for my son’s teachers
  4. Kid’s Christmas movie night
  5. Reading advent scripture every day to my kids
  6. Bake holiday cookies and deliver them to the neighbors
  7. Let Aden decide what he would like to give through the World Vision holiday catalog
  8. Go sledding
  9. Drive around to look at lights (personal fave)
  10. Christmas Eve service

I’d love to hear from you your thoughts on traditions, during the holidays or otherwise.  Do you have special ones that you observe year after year?  Do you have fond memories of certain traditions from your childhood?


  1. Great blog post.

    Growing up I remember baking with my mom on the 23rd and then delivering the goodies to neighbors and friends. I do this now with my son and we travel on snowshoes/in a sled. It’s fun and I really look forward to it.

    We also make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and they never come out great. Oh well! It’s all about the mess and memories.

    This year I put out some of our holiday books and kept a bunch in my closet. I put one new book out with breakfast everyday.

    We also travel to 5 family Christmas parties over three weekends. There is sledding and cookie decorating and more. It’s such a special time of the year!

  2. Caryn…that’s a great idea! Maybe we’ll have to try that once we start getting xmas cards!
    Rachel…I love the book idea. I’m going to scour our house right now to see how many xmas books we have. Ooohhh, I love new traditions!

  3. My family (siblings) get togethers usually prior to Christmas. My parents too when they were still here. Lots of talking, laughing, eating, and love. That is one of my traditions at Christmas.

  4. I used to do an advent calender with little goodies, candy and stickers and then I had two kids who wanted to participate and the amount of little toys slowly drove me crazy. Last year I took 24 Christmas books most that we already owned and a few new. Wrapped them up put a number on it. Every night as a family we opened a book and read it together. It was a win win and my boys (3&6) are already excited to see some old favorite books and maybe get a few new ones.

  5. FUN ideas, Shannon!
    We started a tradition last year of picking a Christmas card every night at the dinner table & saying a little prayer for the friends who sent it… it might take you into the new year :). Gives us a moment as a family to think of our friends, enjoy the cards they sent, and be thankful for their friendship.
    We also love the sleigh rides at Shelburne Farms too!!


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