Tuesday, December 10, 2013

troubleshooting traditions

Our first holiday season of married life brought about a lot of discussion: how are we going to celebrate the holidays?  It’s a scary discussion for some, especially when family traditions run deep and pressure from both sides of the family can weigh in as you’re trying to decide what to do.  Ultimately, we just had to recognize that the holidays from both our viewpoints were going to look different---and that was okay---because we were married now.  Not only was it important for us to incorporate traditions and celebrations with both of our families…but we decided that very first year that it was really important to start our OWN traditions as well.

I stumbled across this blog post last week and really enjoyed it—namely the idea of deciding what to keep, toss & modify in terms of traditions you bring into marriage.  I also really enjoyed the idea of being flexible.  In my family, my sister is a nurse and that has meant moving Christmas (more than once) to New Years or the weekend.  Or there have been the years where my mom has had to work Christmas eve and/or Christmas day and we’ve had to adjust the schedule.    I married into a family with a bunch of pastors…which generally means their days off are not the same as ours.  And lastly,  I’m married to a husband who works a job where the time off allotted for vacation is pretty minimal…and we tend to have babies and eat up all of our vacation time.  So, we adjust and enjoy.  The things I adored about the holiday season (Black Friday shopping, midnight mass with my family after presents on Christmas eve, etc..) have changed as we’ve gotten married and had children of our own. 

So what are our traditions?  Well, I only eat my mom’s stuffing on Thanksgiving (I’ve tried others, I just can’t do it.) I shop Black Friday. We wrap Christmas-themed books to open every night in December.  I watch “The Family Stone” & “The Family Man” at least a dozen times through the month. We drive around and look at Christmas lights nearly every night. Everyone gets a new movie in their stocking.  An elf visits us every night and this year, we’re reading the Jesus Storybook Bible Christmas reading plan and cutting chains off our countdown.

Even with all the adjusting of schedules and changing things up a bit each year, we still want our kids to be able to count on traditions in our own family.  We may see our cousins on a different day each year, but it’s important that our kids have time they can count on to celebrate as a family.  We carved out time on Christmas morning/day our first year of marriage just my husband and I….and it was such a sweet time of celebration together.  We’ve continued this time and each year we both find ourselves looking forward to it: “what should we have for breakfast/brunch?”  “what new movie do you think the kids will want to watch?”  It’s relaxed.  It’s enjoyable.  It’s a special time as a family.  There is no rush to be anywhere or hurry through our own family celebration to make it to the next gathering.  It’s simply delightful.

We got married.  And through that, we kept some traditions, dropped some & modified others.  And now we’re our own family…and that means drafting even more special traditions.