Nurture - December 17, 2018

My Love For Holiday Traditions

What holiday traditions does your family have or what new traditions should you start?

There’s so much about this time of the year I genuinely enjoy… the music, the food, the gathering and most of all the traditions. Upholding tradition might seem archaic to some but for me keeping family holiday rituals alive is comforting. Christmas time always takes me back to my best childhood memories. Those memories serve as strong reminders of what an incredible family I am blessed to have.

Decorating the tree with my grandmother has always been one of my favorite Christmas traditions. My grandmother took such pride in curating the most beautiful tree every year — a Victorian-era Christmas tree, filled with soft pinks, creamy whites, lace, pearls, and porcelain ornaments. Her tree always looked like it came straight out of a magazine. It was magical. I can still remember the excitement I felt every time I reached into an ornament box and carefully took out a delicate figurine wrapped in tissue. What would I uncover? A glass slipper? A twirling ballerina?

Back in 2015, my first Christmas as a mother, I knew I wanted to create those same exciting feelings and memories for my own family. Honestly, I don’t think my husband understood at first. Not until he saw it come together. I dressed us all in cute outfits, blasted Christmas music and opened boxes of brand new ornaments—ones I hoped would be in our family forever. Our (at the time) 10-month-old daughter fumbled with empty packaging and tugged on the wool snowflakes I hung on the bottom of the tree. I lit up! It was the beginning of our very own Christmas tradition.

Every year since, my little girl anxiously waits for the weekend we go pick out our tree and fill it with old and new ornaments that represent old and new memories. Even hubby, who we joke is the Grinch, has found something to enjoy about the ritual. I think it’s because there’s something immensely comforting about tradition. I know it was last year, when we had to transition (euthanize) two of our dogs, five days apart. It was the commitment to uphold our family tradition that pulled me out of bed and filled our saddened hearts with joy.

Our Christmas tree is definitely more traditional than my grandmother’s ever was and Grammie and I never wore matching pajamas. I make vegan coconut milk hot chocolate instead of chai cinnamon tea lattes, but those are minor edits I’ve made, to make this family tradition my own for my new little family. It’s acceptable as families grow and branch out to alter our traditions slightly. Remember the primary purpose of tradition is to strengthen family bonds. So this year instead of only putting your energy into buying gifts, make it a point to create lasting memories. Have your family participate in an old tradition, re-invent a childhood activity that brings fond memories or create something entirely new for you and yours, and vow to do it every year to come!

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Photography - Lauren Alexandra
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