Traditions of Christmas, a new generation
In the beginning:
Not really, I mean uh, not the beginning of man or anything, but the beginning of, oh, please, just read on:
The pilgrims didn't have any traditions because they wanted to start new. They created ways to celebrate and decorate for Christmas that worked for them. For instance: evergreens on the door and family table, cooking a recipe created and adjusted all year for the Christmas Dinner celebration, and making ornaments from the things around them. Most families, even those of the electric everything generation, find or create something that is unique to them and then hand the idea(s) down.
What makes an idea become a tradition?
It's not that hard to make a tradition. All you have to do is do something different one year and then continue to do it every year. Sometimes traditions get so deeply ingrained in the family celebrations that it is almost unforgivable to omit it. Yet, we all know that things change. Families grow up and get a career. Soon, they are having babies and the traditions, it is hoped, live on; however, as things change, traditions may change to keep up with technology. What does that mean? It means that the traditions are growing just like the family.
Do you have ideas you can use already coming to mind?
Since most traditions begin with doing something fun....
Here are a few you can try out. Feel free to use, change, or adjust them as you like.
1) Use a white tablecloth on your coffee table or buffet and have all family members sign it in green and red permanent marker on Christmas or just before. Don't worry if the cloth isn't covered because you will be getting new signatures every year until the cloth is filled to the brim (so to speak). Different take on that would be to have them drawer Christmas pictures like candy canes or snow flakes.
2) Gather your family for an ornament party. Have items like paint, small branches, styrofoam, flowers, glue, beads, etc.. Then have each member craft an ornament that will be unique to them. Each year, be sure to prominently display the ornament on your tree. If you have too many, pack up the ones your kids made so they can give them to their kids, not only to display on their own tree, but to use as a guide to making their own.
3) You know how Secret Santa's are done at office parties and such? Why not make one for your family for a time and day convenient for all. To make your Secret Santa different, assign the names as numbers. Then on the day the gifts are given, have family members drawer a number from a stocking and then pick their numbered gift from the pile. Be sure everyone knows the gift should be for either sex and put a limit on how much can be spent. If you get your own back, that's okay.
4) Have your family make name tags for seating at the table during the Christmas Dinner. They can use stickers or markers, even crayons will work. If someone isn't the crafty type, you can have them do a quick swirl of glue over the tag and then sprinkle on glitter.
5) Have your kids make the name tags that will go on the gifts this year. Same as above, only smaller.
6)Gather leaves in the fall when the colors are still bright. Use two pieces of waxed paper and have the children make a picture or collage of the leaves they gathered. Make sure the leaves are placed on the waxed side of the paper and that nothing is placed on the edge of the paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper, wax side down, on the picture and iron with a warm iron until the pieces are stuck together. Then when Christmas comes, they can display their art for all to see. Crayon decorations can be done before ironing as can crayon or waxed color drops.
7) Make small felt ornaments like Santa Clause or a snowman. Just drawer or trace the figure onto the felt with about a 1/4 inch extra on each side (or you could just make round ornaments and then drawer the figure on with permanent marker). Sew or glue the pieces together and turn right side out. Fill with fluff. Make felt decorations for the ornaments or you can use permanent markers or fabric paint.
The list above is only the beginning.
With a little imagination and, perhaps, a lot of internet or book searching, you can find lists upon lists of fun things you can do with your family. If they are fun to do, you might find that you have created a tradition of your own without even trying.
Just a last bit of info: Try not to force the family to do something just because you might want to start a tradition. Better to have them brainstorm ideas with you as a family. That way, the whole family is involved in the choice as well as the work.
© 2014 Cheryl Simonds