Welcome back to my “Making a House a Home” series. If you missed the introductory post or last week’s topic, “If Mama Ain’t Happy”, you can click on the links to see those and catch up. To watch the videos in the 2nd post just click on the titles which are written in red.
This week, I had planned on talking about establishing traditions in your home. And, when I had originally planned my series, I was going to discuss a topic called “The Kids Are Alright” about providing structure in your home. Well, as I have been mentally writing this post, the two topics seem to keep intermingling. So, if it’s alright with you, I’m going to blend the topics together today.
As I kept thinking about traditions, I couldn’t help but be of the opinion that the reason people find so much comfort in tradition is the structure it provides. It gives you a known, and we all love knowing what is going to happen next. We are, by nature, comforted by predictability.
I think family traditions conjure up feelings of well-being and a sense of belonging. Something we all long for.
I have to confess, that while I have been well-intentioned, I have not done a very good job of establishing annual traditions….you know…the ones centered around holidays and special occasions.
I wanted to have a tradition of setting up our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving every year. Well, then one year, I decided I wanted to Christmas shop on the day after Thanksgiving. Honey, after fighting the crowds and going from store to store all day long, there was no puttin’ up a tree in the same day.
Then the tree tradition turned into, the weekend after Thanksgiving. And in more recent years, our tradtion has become “get the tree out of the box and set it up and look at it in its natural state for a few days”…maybe even longer…until, after being begged every day by my daughter, we finally decorate the tree.
I’m not earning any nominations for Mom of the Year, am I?
Okay, so if I can’t get that right, maybe I can get all of the presents wrapped and under the tree by the first week of December.
Reality check…I start wrapping presents right before we walk out the door for whatever family party we’re attending. And it ends up being Christmas Eve before my daughter’s presents are under the tree.
I’m takin’ a beating here. I need to move on…
I’m sure most people think of traditions in the annual sense, but what about daily traditions? or weekly traditions? I’ll tell ya a tradition that I insist on, and that is eating our dinner together around the table. It doesn’t happen every night, but it does happen at least a few times a week. We get to hear about each other’s day, find out what is going on in our teenage daughter’s world, guide her in her thoughts and decisions….that part of it ends up being kind of a natural devotional time as we try to help her see and apply God’s Word to her daily life. Those moments are irreplaceable.
What about meal times in general…some of the things that you cook for your family that will always remind them of you when they’re older? I think my daughter will always associate Chicken and Dumplings with her childhood. It’s her favorite meal.
I gotta tell ya, my sisters, brother and I bonded over Mom’s cookin’. She would cook things like beef tips and stroganoff, brussel sprouts, okra, greens…stuff no kid wants to eat. The rule was, “you finish what’s on your plate or your gettin’ a spankin'” and Dad always followed through. So, we encouraged each other to finish our dinner…even shared a few tricks for making it look like we ate more than we really did. There may or may not have been food strategically hidden under the trash in the trash compactor…;)
Would you consider family vacations a tradition of sorts? I do. When I was young, my family mostly vacationed in New Braunfels, TX. So, it was a bit of a tradition to go there.
And my sister and I get together with our kids every summer to spend the day at the beach in Galveston. The kids have come to expect it, and miss it if we skip a year.
Do you have a regular vacation spot?
I’m even going to go so far as to say that daily routines offer a sense of tradition. I remember coming home from school every afternoon to unwind to a little t.v. before homework time. ABC used to run a feature called “million dollar movie” at 3:00 p.m. and they would always have an Elvis week. Loved Elvis week! All four of us loved Elvis week. We bonded over Elvis.
I’ve carried that afternoon tradition of unwinding before homework time into my own home. Even though it’s only 30 minutes, my daughter really looks forward to her down time in the afternoon.
When I was growing up, Saturdays were usually reserved for road trips to see grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. So much fun. We never unwrapped our toilet paper casts off our arms so fast as when mom and dad would announce that we were going to see PawPaw, or Granny or Aunt Barbara…
Bedtime was 9:00 p.m. even when I was a senior in high school. I thought it was so strict and a rule that came from my parents being “stuck in the ” ’50’s”, but it provided structure, a routine, and a sense of being well cared for—even if I didn’t realize it back then.
Bedtime around here is 10:00 p.m, and now I get to play the role of unreasonable parent.
I’ll leave you with one last anecdote.
When my daughter was little, I insisted on getting to spend the majority of Christmas day in our own home. Family could wait til the evening. It was more important to me that the three of us get to have a relaxing morning together and that Hannah have time to enjoy her new things. I also wanted time to make a special breakfast without having to rush to prepare the dish that I bring to the family get together.
I’m sure family felt inconvenienced, but this was very important to me. So, everyone obliged.
Just this past Christmas, my SIL, who has a two -year- old and a baby under one, told me that now she totally understands why I used to insist on having Christmas morning in my own home.
I was very glad to know that it not only made sense to her, but that she wants it for her own home. I have every intention of coming alongside her to support her next year.
I’ll be her advocate because this is precisely the point that I’m wanting to make today. You might be considered strict. You might be thought of as controlling. Your kids may be resistant. Your family may disapprove. But you know what? It’s okay. Everyone, especially the kids, will be alright. Whether you’re establishing annual traditions or setting a daily routine, you are providing something very necessary to your family’s well-being: structure.
My siblings and I all grown up and doing alright.
What routines and traditions do you have in your home? I can’t wait to hear about them!
Until next week, when we talk about decorating your home,
Please stop by and link up to this week’s Show & Tell party. I’m celebrating my 10th party…the more the merrier!
I am linking up to:
Country Homemaker Hop @ My Simple Country Living
Cowgirl Up @ 1 party at 4 blogs: Cedar Hill Ranch, The Farmhouse Porch, The Ivy Cottage, and Craft Texas Girls
It’s A Woman Thing @ Cindy Adkin’s Whimsical Musings
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ Katherine’s Corner