Tradition is far more powerful and memorable than any gift you could ever give.Â Every year, my family gathered around the free cut tree to decorate.Â Every year, we drove by the â€œHouse of Lightsâ€ (one that was so decorated a lit up that you literally could see it for miles) on the way to my auntâ€™s house.Â These memories are stronger (and more treasured) that all the gifts I ever received (and I got a horse one year ;)).
There are times when I worry that Iâ€™m not doing enough to instill tradition in my children.Â It doesnâ€™t help that extended families have scattered and splintered to the point of almost being non-existent.Â Every year, we try to keep the focus on the meaning.Â The truth is, we may never know (at least not for many years) if that meaning stuck.
1.Â Â Â Â Â Advent Calendar â€“ years back, I didnâ€™t have the money to buy one of those â€œfancyâ€ advent calendars.Â Instead, I made one with felt and tiny ornaments.Â Every day, starting Dec 1, we put one ornament on the giant tree.Â Christmas day, we put the manger scene at the top of the tree.Â The kids think about that tree first thing every morning.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Decorations â€“ we have two December birthdays in our family.Â As a way to keep them from ever feeling unimportant, we wait to decorate the tree until AFTER their birthdays.Â This means that Dec 24th is always a tree trimming party.Â Dad takes the boys off to play while I get everything set up.Â With Christmas carols playing on the stereo, we spend time together bringing our tree to life.
3.Â Â Â Â Â Christmas treats â€“ it started as a money thing (in that we didnâ€™t have any and I needed some gifts) but making a plate of treats for friends and family is now a fun time for me and the kids.Â We spend several days talking about which recipes to use and then several days cooking and packaging the treats.Â On Christmas Eve, we make the trip to all the houses to deliver our gifts.
4.Â Â Â Â Â Christmas lights â€“ since we are already out and about, we use Christmas Eve to do our light seeing.Â My uncle is famous for his decorations, and we always make the trip over there.Â On the years when he has live reindeer, we make this trip during that time as well.
5.Â Â Â Â Â Parades â€“ my husband is a huge fan of parades (I still donâ€™t know if itâ€™s because of his needs or because he wants to entertain the kids) so each year we make the trip downtown to watch the parade (and grab up some candy).
Traditions donâ€™t have to be costly or outrageous to find their way into our hearts.Â It is those times that we spend with family, that we know we can count on, that will live on in our lives long after the presents are forgotten.