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Family Holiday Traditions | Christmas Decorating with Children

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Re-Imagine Holiday Traditions

0 Comments 26 November 2012

The holidays are a time of memory and tradition, as well as hope and new beginnings. Our steadfast tradition for the past nine years of marriage has been Christmas decorating on the day after Thanksgiving. This year, because we were going out of town for Thanksgiving, we made special plans with our children to decorate the weekend before. Baby #1 was particularly excited to be ahead of schedule!

Christmas Decorating

Last Saturday morning, we made record time lining the rooftop with white lights, nestling colored lights in the bushes, and arranging our lighted grapevine sleigh and reindeer on the lawn.

Our plan for day 2 was based on a tradition we started last year: Christmas tree, cookies, and cocoa.

On Sunday, we did enjoy all three C’s, but somehow the tree trimming didn’t remain a one-night affair like it has always been. In fact, one week later, we still have a partially ornamented tree.

Why the delay?

Tradition. Or, rather, tradition re-imagined.

On our official tree-trimming night, I planned to involve the children by sharing the many baby ornaments, engraved with their names and birth years. I should have known that our Three would not be content with just seeing and hearing. They wanted to put their {delicate} ornaments on the tree. Then, remembering our fully decorated tree from last year, they insisted that I not put up all the other ornaments while they slept.

Every year in the past, I have quietly treasured tree trimming late into the night. But this year, instead of efficiently decorating the rest of the tree, I just subtly rearranged the little ones’ clustered ornaments and went to sleep.

The week’s activities kept us busy, but the children have been begging to finish the tree. Every night, reminding me not to complete it without them. Thus, I resisted the urge to turn on Christmas music and put up the remaining ornaments—from the sentimental, to the breakable, to the monochromatic ones that tie it all together.

This tree is a story waiting to be told.

Christmas Ornaments

Tonight, I begin. These small chunky red flip-flops and ukulele are from our honeymoon in Hawaii, this brass bell was engraved by Aunty for our first Christmas, this ceramic ball with raised Eiffel Tower motif is from our weekend in Paris, there is one Peruvian alpaca llama for each of you from Uncle who climbed Machu Picchu. No, the red and pink stocking ornaments are not for Baby #1 and Baby #2; they were for Daddy and Momma before we had you.

So many stories to share. I’m not sure how many nights it will take to put up the tree this year. I do know our tree tells the story of our family and continues to grow and change each year.

Although I have always savored this tradition, our Three have taught me to slow down and truly take in each memory, old and new. It is not about when the tree is up, or how perfect it looks.

To experience tradition, we must truly live tradition.

Holidays are a lovely opportunity to begin new traditions for the family you are raising. Reflect on those memories that were most dear to you as a child and the new hopes you have for your own children. Allow yourself to worry less about what others will think and say. Focus on what is meaningful to you.

If you enjoyed this article, please Share with friends and tell us about your traditions—and traditions re-imagined—in the Comments below.

 

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