I love traditions! Maybe because I come from a sappy, sentimental, love-dovey family–and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love that my dad prays before we open gifts, that my mom makes cinnamon rolls for breakfast and minestrone soup for lunch. I love how when anyone in my family gets a BIG gift, they are actually given a tiny little box with a message that says “Go look in the garage!” or something like that. I love how I now experience traditions from my side of the family as well as the Tompkins’ side.
We’re at a great point in our family where the kids are young enough that we can easily begin traditions in our home that we want to continue for years. Some of you may remember last year that we began a tradition of counting down to Christmas with our very own advent calendar. I strung this garland and added 25 little boxes. Each day, we take out a piece of paper that tells us something we’re going to do as a family that day. We haven’t been quite as intentional this time as last year (sometimes Trent and I decide that afternoon what our evening activity will be) and we missed several days when we were on vacation, but for the most part we are sticking with it. Here’s a close-up of the little boxes.
One classic is hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles.
It’s a big hit.
We started a new tradition within the tradition: each year I’ve tried to buy the kids a Hallmark ornament representing something about their stage in life. Last year Sydney got a Baby’s first ornament and Carson got Buzz Lightyear. (The year before he got Elmo.) This year, instead of just giving him his ornament (Bolt–the dog from the Disney movie) I set up a treasure hunt around the house with clues. The “treasure” at the end was his and Sydney’s new ornament. It was easy to do and fun for Carson, so I definitely plan to do it again. Here he is posing his dirty little hand with the ornament. 🙂

Another wonderful tradition we are apart of is with Trent’s mom, Linda. Each year in December, she takes each of her 4 grown children and 2 daughters-in-law out to lunch–individually–to spend some quality time and ask how she can pray for us in the coming year. There have been a few years when one kid or another can’t make it work into the schedule, but she is consistent in asking and in praying. She brings her notebook of last year’s requests and finds out how the Lord has answered those prayers. Since having my own kids, this tradition has impacted me even more greatly, and –surprise!–brought me to sentimental tears the last few years. I’m so blessed to have married into such a godly family, and this is one tradition that I can’t wait to start when my children are older.
What are your favorite traditions? I may want to borrow them. 🙂