The Thanksgiving season will soon be here, so a post about family traditions seemed like a great idea when I heard about this week's "Joyful Mothering" theme. For those of you who know me, you know that fall is my favorite season...and Thanksgiving is the main fall holiday. So, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It seems to be less "stressed-out" than Christmas, and it is a good time to help your little guys remember to think about all the things God has blessed us with!
When I was a child, we did not have the blessing of living around my extended family. So, my mom went out of her way to instill special traditions and times for our family even though we could not take place in larger family celebrations. I am very grateful for this, because it taught me the importance of having traditions for your own family, even if you can't take part in traditions in your extended family.
Thankfully, we live by family now, and so my boys have the extra blessing of being able to take part in larger family celebrations and traditions. One of our main traditions at Thanksgiving is going to my parent's house and eating Thanksgiving dinner with them. Because my mom took the time to have our own traditions, there are certain things that we do every year that make it special. We always have turkey, and we eat on the "best" dishes--the ones that only come out a few times a year. But there's something important about tradition--it doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive! One of our favorite things as kids was that on Thanksgiving, we always made celery sticks with peanut butter in them to snack on while we waited for lunch to be ready. This is not a complicated thing, and it is something that can be done any time, but because we always did it at Thanksgiving, it has stuck in all our minds as a tradition. Even if we have them at other times of the year, I always think of Thanksgiving when I see them!
And that's really the purpose of traditions--at Thanksgiving or any other time--the memories they create. I'm sure you can all think of something that makes remind you of a certain holiday or season whenever you see it, even if it's at a different time of the year. Building these memories is why we have traditions--it's so important to pass on a sense of belonging and togetherness to your kiddos! Kids love traditions...they thrive on the security of being able to say "It's this time so we get to do this thing." If we didn't have celery and peanut butter, it just didn't feel like Thanksgiving! :)
So practice some of your traditions this holiday season! Go check out the other mom's ideas and traditions. And if there's something you've always wanted to start, now might be a great time to get that tradition off the ground! Don't worry if it's not always perfect...you never know what will stick in a kid's memories--like celery and peanut butter! :)