When the kid was born, I bought a book about favorite family traditions. I remember paging through it once. Just once. What I didn't realize when I first ordered the book, but intuitively knew with the first crack of the cover, is that memories are built on traditions.
Traditions are personal. You can't plan them, force them or bribe their way into your clan. You build them. The best traditions are the ones that spontaneously evolve because of who you and your family members are. They are not extracted from a book or a top 10 list. Instead, they are pure and simply - yours.
When it comes to traditions, some things take while others do not. My attempt at creating an annual outing to the Nutcracker crashed and burned before the end of act one when the husband and kid fell asleep. Dreaming of sugar plum fairies? I think not. The Advent box was a hit the first year but coming up with 25 different items, small enough to fit into tiny wooden boxes proved too much of a stressor for me after candy, pennies and toddler underwear and mini trinkets lost their kid-appeal. Bye, bye baby.
Here are a few traditions that did take or are in the making as I write this:
- Silly Santa had a "brilliant" idea to leave clues around the house for the kid to find one of her larger gifts. The chase is still on - for presents and my creativity.
- Morning brunch with sticky buns.
- Find the eggplant .... ornament. We had a pickle, but it broke.
- Movie gift card from Santa for a family movie on Christmas Day.
- Peacock feather tree topper. Thinking she'd want something pink and frilly, I was pleasantly surprised when the 6-year old picked out this elegant tree topper.
- Crab legs on Christmas Eve. Boiled in a big pot on a small burner on the back deck in the midst of a MN winter. It's the experience, dude.
- Growing up, my brother, sister and I opened 1-2 gifts on Christmas Eve. The kid opens gifts from my family in New York on Christmas Eve.
- Rudolph, Frosty or Ms. Claus always leave small gifts under the kid's Christmas Tree in her bedroom.
- Waking up at home on Christmas morning and if we leave the house, not doing so until afternoon.
I remember the one year, after wrapping all of the toddler's presents, we asked her what she hoped Santa would bring. "Pink presents," she replied. Do you know how hard it was to find pink wrapping paper 2 days before Christmas?
Will any of this make up for missing St. Nick's visits or failing to engage with Elf on a Shelf? Yes. If not, I'll put a few extra dollars in the kid's counseling fund developed for her to use when she wants to right all of my parenting wrongs.
What's your favorite family tradition?
By: Lisa Rosendahl