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Holiday Traditions

As we carry down from the attic and unpack the decorations and ornaments from Christmases past, my husband and I reflected on some holiday family traditions we had each celebrated as children and that we wish to continue with our family together. With our first baby’s arrival at the beginning of last year, she’s now old enough to start to understand what the holidays are about. And now, with a new baby just days from entering the world, we’re ready to go all out to make the season extra special.

We both had memories of baking cookies in the kitchen with our mothers and grandmothers, putting up and decorating the Christmas tree and sharing steaming mugs of spiced cider, but neither of us has any lasting keepsakes of these holidays, except for some old photographs and a few holiday cards.

Because of this, we decided to set our own holiday traditions for our children that will give them lasting keepsakes that they can hold onto and take with them. When my husband and I first began dating, we would select a tree ornament each holiday that would commemorate the past year. Sometimes it’s silly (a Christmas pickle ornament – a German tradition), sometimes it’s serious (a key to symbol the purchase of our first house), but it is always something that’s meaningful to us as a couple.

We’ve now extended this tradition to our children. Upon our daughter’s birth, we began to buy two ornaments for the tree – one to celebrate her, and one for us. On the year of her first Christmas, we purchased a cross to symbolize the blessing we had received, as well as a small silver frame in which we put our first family portrait. This year, we will have two babies at Christmastime, so we will choose three new ornaments – one for us as a family and one for each of our children. They will all hang on our Christmas tree each year, and, when our daughter and son all both all grown up and on their own, we’ll pack them up and pass them on to the two of them. That way, they will each have with them a collection of meaningful ornaments that they can hang on their own trees. We think it’s a great way to start a new tradition and to give our children something to symbolize all the love and joy that they have shared with us.

Do you have any new traditions you’ve started since becoming parents?

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