Traditions are customs or beliefs that are passed from one generation to another. In our house, we have a ton. Some of our family rituals came from either my family or my husbands but many of them, Big and I have put in place on our own. I want to share with you some of the things that we do in our house just to get you thinking. Here's the secret. It boils down to memories. When my husband and I are gone, we want our kids to remember the things we have done as a family (augghhh morbid!! ) We are big on having less and doing more and hope that this mindset is something we can also pass along to our munchkins.
1. The Trip Wall.
This wall is gaudy and we. don't. care. Since my husband and I have started vacationing together, we have been picking up picture frames from the different vacation spots we have traveled to. We make sure to get a good picture, usually a selfie. Heck! We were taking selfies before they were a thing. We would flip that camera around and make a guesstimate to where we thought we were both in the picture and SNAP! (This is what happens when you vacation with just 2 peeps) We pop u favorite picture in the frame and onto the wall. To make it even more awesome, we also have a map of the US in the middle of all our eclectic and lively frames. . The map has different pins for hubby and I individually, us as a couple and our family. We have a road trip planned for the summer of 2017 and can't wait to put in the pins!
2. The first ornament on the tree.
This tradition started with my parents. Every year, me being the first born, I had the privilege of being lifted by my dad to place my "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornament as high as I could reach. After mine was placed, my younger brother was lifted to then place his. This continued until my dad could no longer lift us. Then we pretended. Sometimes he got on all fours and we stood on his back, sometimes he just held a leg. But no matter what, the tradition stands and you put your baby ornament up in birth order Now, every year, my husband lifts our babies to put on their first ornament.
3. School shopping
When my brother and I were we tikes our mom would takes us shopping for school clothes BUT my gram took us for our school supplies. This added excitement to the end of summer. Every year, we would head out for our day with gram and come home with our lists checked off. Grandma's spare no expense and we got what we asked for. I loved showing off all the cool stuff that gram had gotten me. Now, my mother does the same with my kiddies. This past year, my little tomboy daughter wanted a Star Wars backpack like her older brother. After several attempts by Nunnie to try to convince her that the Frozen bag was soooo cute, Chica finally settled for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack. Gotta love them babies!
4. Cupcakes Please!
This is one of my favorites!! This is one that I started. We are fans of the show Cupcake Wars, even the kids. We are also huge fans of cupcakes. A few years back, we (I) made the decision to find the best cupcake store in every town we hit up. It is based on internet reviews and hotel/resort staff recommendations. We budget in our vacation funds, enough to cover a dozen gourmet cupcakes. We purchase one of each and then doubles of what we think we will like to fill int he rest of the dozen. When we get home, we each get a plate and a glass of milk. We take one cupcake out at a time (taking turns on which will be eaten next) and cut the cupcake in fours. each of us then tastes the yummy dessert. (Ok, usually it is snack, or sometimes lunch or dinner. Come on, it's vacation!) Our son takes this extremely serious. He will take a taste of the icing, voice his opinion, then a bite of the cake, again give his opinion, then finish the rest together. He goes on to rate the yummy goodness on a scale of 1-5. He's a pretty awesome kid. This may be one of our sweetest traditions. (oh yeah.)
5. Homemade RAVIOLIS at christmas.
Alright, another food tradition. This has been for as long as I can remember. Every year for Christmas, my gram made homemade cheese ravioli. They were paper thin and melted in your mouth. She made the dough from scratch and rolled it all out by hand. She filled each pocket; folded, cut and closed each side with a fork and spent hours upon hours making these every year, Over the years, new hand held appliances made things a little easier. As gram got older, mom gave it a try. After making and freezing an entire Xmas batch, they were disappointed to find the wax paper stuck to most of them. That year, someone ran to the store and picked up bags of ravs, opened them all and dumped them into the bags we had our ravioli in. Everyone knew they were store bought, but we have learned from our mistakes. Our first Christmas, the tradition was handed to us. (Benefit of your husband being an amazing chef). We make our dough from scratch and hand crank to flatten. We average 400 ravioli a season. I LOVE it because we have leftovers for weeks!
6. XMAS and Santa
This is something new that we tried this year and it worked really well. We are a family that would rather DO than HAVE. After last Christmas, we asked our kids how they would feel if Santa only brought them 3 gifts and a family trip. They were all for it! I think I was more nervous about Christmas morning than they were. They each has 3 gifts to open and a stack of wrapped boxes filled with photos and information about the trip. Boxes included pictures of the waterpark, play area, and horseback riding. They LOVED it! This is a tradition that we will continue for years to come.
7. The Christmas ornaments
Every year, St NIck or Santa (Santa if St. Nick forgets) brings each child and sometimes the hubby, an ornament that may sum up the year. Our tree is just as eclectic as our trip wall. We have ornaments that were handed down from our families, ornaments that our kids proudly made, our collection of yearly ornaments, trip ornaments and of course the filler bulbs.
8. I love you more than...
Every night before my kids go to bed, I tell them how much I love them. This tradition started when I was pregnant with my second child and you will totally be able to tell the difference between the two kids. I would tell me son every night how much I loved him and he would always ask, "Do you love me more than..." No 5 years later and every night before he goes to bed, I tell him this: "i love you more than 1 million puppies and doggies, macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake with white icing, sugar donuts and marshmallow peeps!" Notice all the food? Gimme a break, I was pregnant and fighting cravings. With my daughter, I tell her I love her more than 1 million books, vampire, first place finishes, mini robin eggs, candy and marshmallow peeps! They love it and will usually rattle it off faster than I can. It's silly and means nothing to other people, but my kids love to hear it before they hit the hay.
9.. All the other stuff
Not quite sure if these are traditions or not but they are things that we do as a family. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesday in our house. On Cinco De Mayo, we have a large taco dinner but add fun (Non Alcoholic) drinks in fun glasses. Every night when we sit down to dinner, we start dinner with "tell me about your day." Every time my kids get on the bus, I yell out, "Have a great day! Learn lots and be kind to others!". New Years Eve, we do an activity every hour until midnight.
The "moral" of this post is that our kids learn from our actions, These little things that we do every year, or every trip or every day are the things that they will pass along to their children or at least share with their kids, "When we were little, my mom and dad..." Our society is fast paced, desensitized and filled with emails, texts and social media. Sometimes, we spend more time taking photos of every special moment instead of enjoying the moment that is so fascinating. Think about what YOU remember from your childhood. Will you pass along those memories to your children? How will they remember their childhood?