Welcome to September and the month that represents a “new year” for most parents. While January is looked on as a new year for the planet, most parents see September as the time of year to begin again, make new choices, change decisions and begin anew.
The one thing I love about September is the launching of major holidays and traditions. We set in motion the preparations for Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Remembrance/Veterans DayChristmas, New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Those events seem to be the markers that define a year for myself and my family.
I am a big believer in writing your own story for your family. Choosing the direction you will go, and what that will look like. The amazing thing with family traditions is twofold.
1. You get to relive moments from your childhood that bring forward feelings of home and security and acceptance.
2. You get to tie your family and your children into the fabric of your life as a child and begin to weave your own design into that fabric.
I was asked recently about traditions and what I felt people should keep and what they should give up. Choosing what you celebrate in your family is very personal. Some traditions have wonderful memories and recreate a moment in time you felt loved and accepted. Some traditions bring up memories we would like to forget and bury in time. As you move forward writing your family story, choose the traditions for you that make you feel connected!
Here are 5 Traditions I believe every family should keep alive:
1. Back to School Photos: No matter how old your children get, every year they return to school, from Kindergarten to Graduate School; take a photo! These are the milestones and moments that you can show your children as they grow, along with showing grand kids and even great grand kids if you are lucky! It shows you how much your kids change from one year to the next. It reminds you of styles and the personality of your kids shining through. It also reminds you of the times when your kids relied on you more and the moments when you are able to take that step back and give them room to choose.
2. Christmas Celebrations: Whether you are religious or not, Christmas time impacts everyone. One tradition my family had was to open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was always a gift of our choosing and my mom was smart enough to NOT put the big gifts under the tree until we had gone to bed. I brought that tradition forward with my children and then tweaked it. My kids get to open a gift Christmas Eve, however, it’s ALWAYS pyjamas! Always. Why? I love to take a photo Christmas Eve of all of us in brand new pyjamas and it becomes a page in my scrapbook and often then a gift back to the grandparents. Choose something to carry forward that you LOVE. Is it Jello Salad at the Christmas dinner? Is it oranges in the Christmas stocking? How about visiting a specific place on Christmas Eve? Whatever that tradition is for your family, be sure to keep it alive!
3. Remembrance Day/Veterans Day: Every single year, men and women give their lives for our freedom. Our children need to know this fact. They need to know that they have the life and luxuries they have because men and women give up their luxuries to fight for our freedoms. My dad is retired Air Force reserves and every year we attended a huge city Remembrance Day ceremony. The placing of the wreath. On the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, we silence and remember those men and women. We need to always remember the loss of lives and the freedom we have.
4. Valentine’s Day: While this holiday has become a greeting card grab holiday, it can be a day to remind the people in your life how much you love them. No greeting card necessary. My children make all their own Valentine’s cards. We don’t buy them anymore. It’s a choice. What I make sure happens is the Grandparents all get a call for this day. It is important to remember the ones that love us along with the ones we love. You don’t have to make this holiday all about romance. I urge you to use this day to say “I love you” to the people who make your world a better place.
5. Childhood Milestones: This one can be VAST! It is a great way to celebrate the incredible things our kids can do and just how much they grow, even in just a short while. We have a wall in our home that we measure growth. I also have a page in my scrapbook that holds the first tooth lost for each kid. I know…creepy! I also keep at least one piece of art from each school year per kid. Much of it is still hanging on the wall in my front entry way. Time flies by so quickly, you blink and suddenly your toddler is entering University! Take a moment each month, or each quarter to celebrate the milestones your kids are reaching.
I would love to hear what traditions you are keeping alive in your family. Please share them with me?