Strengthen those Christmas traditions
Every Christmas Eve you’ll find my whole entire family—minus mom and dad having a slumber party in the family room. We play games and fall asleep to classic Christmas movies—It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppets Christmas Carol. We’ll all fall asleep before the movie/movies end and someone will wake up in the middle of the night and have to turn off the TV. As we can’t come upstairs for breakfast until dad’s awake. Christmas morning is spent playing games until we get the all clear. It’s one of my favorite traditions. It was a tradition born out of necessity. As a child, mom and dad didn’t wrap most of the presents until Christmas Eve (and sometimes Christmas morning). To keep prying eyes away from presents—especially Santa ones—the kids with bedrooms upstairs we’re sent to sleep downstairs. Of course, those of us with bedrooms downstairs felt that a sleepover in the family room was much more fun than sleeping in our own beds. And it was. We laughed together, teased each other, and even occasionally had a pillow fight or two that warranted a, “Go to sleep” from our parents. Our family has grown, yet we’ve maintained the tradition.
Traditions are what makes the holidays magical.
Each family’s traditions are as unique as they are—whether that be opening presents at 5 AM or waiting until dad’s up and everyone is dressed and opening them around lunchtime—it doesn’t really matter. It’s not what the tradition is that is important, it’s the fact that we have them. That there are things that we look forward to. Things that draw us closer to those we love. Things that make us laugh. Things that allow us to put aside the everyday cares of our lives for just a little while, and we believe again in magic.
Traditions are the one thing that allows us to look to the past and the future at the same time.
With traditions such a part of family life and memories talk to your kids about them. (We recommend you use the skill of Effective Communication.) Find out what they like and why. Find out what they would modify/do away with. Even more importantly, listen to the new traditions they propose because those traditions may say a lot as to how they view the family. Is a child all of the sudden not wanting to do something they’ve loved in the past? It could be they’re dealing with bullying at school. (It also could be that they are a teenager.) Is your child now adamant about following every tradition exactly as it’s been done? It could be because they are worried about family changes—siblings off to college/getting married, moving to a new location.
Above all, traditions are about love. Traditions are about family.