Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home
I am a great lover of family traditions. In fact, my entire master’s thesis was built around the theme of tradition and legacy. I love the stories that are passed down from generation to generation, the bits of family legend, as well as the tangible items: our grandmothers’ china, the old grenade and bayonet from World War II, Aunt Mabel’s jewelry, old books inscribed in elegant handwriting, and threadbare quilts with my mother’s old dresses.
In our own family, my husband and I decided early on in our marriage to deliberately cultivate traditions. We had one or two of our own before the kids were born and then added to them yearly. We have collected a solid stash of them in these 20-some years, from candlelight dinner every Saturday night, to the bedtime reading ritual, to taping numbers all around the house each birthday eve in celebration of a child’s new age.
Most holidays have their own traditions: decorating Christmas cookies, doing a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt, hosting an annual October soup-and-pumpkin party. (If you are looking for some amazing ideas for family traditions, check out 10 Ideas To Get You Started at Simple Mom.)
Tradition anchors us. We take joy in unpacking the beloved ornaments each year and comfort in knowing there will be hashbrown casserole and cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. Human beings, especially the very young and the very old, are naturally creatures of habit and order.
But what happens when our kids outgrow the traditions, or just don’t want to take part? It will most likely happen, friends. Those of you who are just beginning this journey may find it impossible to believe that your wide-eyed little angel will someday be a 15-year-old who won’t want to sing Christmas carols around the piano or go with you to the annual performance of The Nutcracker that you have always attended. Together. As a family.