The holidays are a perfect time to begin new traditions. It gives us parents the opportunity to be a little more intentional with our kids with the extra time we get to spend with them. Whether you have vacation time that needs to be taken, or your kids are on…what do they call it now…Winter Break [if you’re wondering whatever happened to Christmas Break, that’s a topic for another time]. This time of year brings with it extra hours that can be capitalized on to strengthen relationships if we choose to be wise in how we spend it. If we choose to just slow down and stop trying to catch the next best thing [or uh gingerbread man…I had to tie in the title somehow].
Three years ago I started a tradition that with my oldest son. Every Christmas we buy one of those Gingerbread House Kits from the store, and we try our best to make the coolest and slickest house on the market. We lay out all the candy, trying hard not to eat it so there is some left for house, and we piece together the walls and roof with icing that makes it all stick. It is one of the highlights of the year…for both of us.
Every family has traditions, some more conventional than others, but the point isn’t what you do, but how you do it. Don’t just go through the motions, even if it’s a tradition you don’t particularly like or didn’t make up but your mom still tries to get ya to do every year. Why? Because it’s important to them and the time spent with them should be important to you.
Yes it might be a pain to put those light up outside on your two-story house and bushes and trees, but your kids love it when they pull up to the house at night and their’s is the most lit-up one on the block…it’s magical. Sure it’s uncomfortable wearing that turtle neck or sweater your wife picked out so you can all match for the family Christmas photo, but she loves the fact that she got her whole family together to do something…it’s memorable.
This Christmas, my family and I have started a new tradition where we have 24 ornaments that symbolize different things in the Bible leading up to the birth of Christ. They each have a devotion and story that goes with them that we read each day in the month of December, and when we finish a particular day, we hang that ornament on the tree to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. No I didn’t come up with the idea, devotions or ornaments [I am a stay at home dad, but I don’t have that much extra time]…our new church provides them for families each year.
The point is, you don’t have to be creative, just opportunistic. You don’t have to get all spiritual or sappy with your traditions, but you should put some meaning into them or else they’re just…well old pointless traditions.
So what about you? What are some traditions you do with your family that make the Christmas season magical and memorable?