Make a New Tradition

As families change, so do holiday traditions. If you have to let one go, make a new one!

Think back on your childhood. What are your memories of Christmas? Did you always go to your grandparents’ farm for dinner? Did your mom make a special dessert? Did your dad leave out hay for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve?   

These memories are precious, but even the most sacred traditions evolve over time. Maybe you’re the parent or grandparent now, and the kids come to your house. Maybe your family is bigger, or maybe it’s smaller.

Several years ago when my boys decided they were too big to visit Santa in the little log cabin in the town near our farm, I was heartbroken. The tradition of walking up the hill through the snow, snuggling onto Santa’s lap near the toasty fireplace, and enjoying a homemade cookie from Mrs. Claus was a mainstay Christmas tradition. I never wanted it to end.

About that time, we began taking a holiday break day trip to either Omaha or Kansas City. We visit a museum, drive around and look at Christmas lights, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. It’s a pretty exciting day for our boys, and they look forward to it every year. (The photo above was taken at the Durham Museum in Omaha last year.)  

Without realizing it, we created a new tradition to replace one we had outgrown.

During the Santa visit years, I always did all of our holiday decorating while the boys were at school, so they’d be surprised and excited when they got off the bus. That tradition has also evolved, and now the boys do all of the decorating. My husband, Jayson, and I watch them as they excitedly unwrap the ornaments, reminisce about where we got them, and choose just the right spot on the tree. They will be off to college soon enough, so I savor every moment of this new tradition.

Another tradition we’ve always done is hang our stockings from a shelf above our kitchen table. The stockings greet us when we walk in the house, and it just feels so cozy. The paint color may change on the kitchen walls over the years, and the cupboards and countertops might get an upgrade, but the one thing I just can’t bear to change is that shelf.

May you enjoy traditions – old and new – this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

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