Memorable Traditions

by Lori Ann

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Christmas Sheep

I was challenged by the Carnival of Natural Parenting Question this month: “From holidays to birthdays, long weekends to family vacations, what has your family done to make special occasions memorable?” As Mama to a young new family, I’m very conscious of the habits, routines, and traditions we’re establishing every day as well as each holiday.

Holiday tradition-making is especially on my mind lately, but I think the following four steps are applicable to guiding my family to memorable special occasions in general:

  1. Think – My inspiration for establishing meaningful traditions — rather than tradition for the sake of tradition, which can  become a burden — is the idea from Exodus 12:26-27: “When your children ask you, ‘What does this tradition mean?’, tell them why you do it; tell them what I have done for you” (my generalized paraphrase – read the real verses here). So, as holidays and other events approach, I’m constantly asking myself, “What does this day mean? What meaning do I want Tigger to get out of these traditions?” I also ask other Mamas what they do, gathering wisdom from those who’ve already found some answers for their families.
  2. Interact – Watch out, porcelain nativity, we’ve got a mobile infant in the house! The best kid-oriented purchase my husband made before we had Tigger was a handmade nativity playset he bought last Christmas. A stuffed camel and fuzzy sheep are some of Tigger’s favorite toys right now… though we did have to put the donkey on a high shelf after she tried to rip its tail out with her new teeth :). From my own memories, I think that hands-on parts of traditions (the youngest child who can read finding and reading the story of Jesus’ birth out loud each Christmas morning, for example) are the ones that will stick best.
  3. Adjust – I’m not so proud as to expect I’ll come up with the perfect tradition every time, nor do I allow myself to get so attached to any one tradition that I can’t imagine it changing. When Baba and I were a family of two, the Advent season included a nightly, and lengthy, Bible reading. I loved it. Tigger, however, is ready for bed as soon as dinner’s done, so that tradition clearly needed adjusting… thus Advent bedtime stories.
  4. Record – I love taking pictures, compiling video, and using it to share with our families who are all an ocean away. Every few years, I use an online photo book service to print a digital scrapbook of what we’ve been doing. I can’t wait until Tigger is old enough to look through our history together, and it’ll be fun to hear her take on what all our traditions meant to her.

So, wise Mamas and newbies alike: what do YOU do to make special occasions — especially holiday traditions — memorable for your little ones?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:



Filed under baby, Family, photography, traditions

20 responses to “Memorable Traditions

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  4. I love that you listed “record” as part of your traditions. It is such a simple thing, but I have forgotten to get out the video camera on just about every occasion that might warrant it. I think I need to have a reminder built into my calendar 😉
    Thank you for sharing!!

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  11. There is definitely a fine line between tradition and routine. Sometimes things are done out of habit, not thinking, and the reason is forgotten. This is my first time looking at your blog, but I can tell that you’re quite methodical and spiritual. Focusing on that during holidays will convey your beliefs to your children. I agree that things, like the nativity, should be used as that’s how learning is learned the easiest (through doing). It’s kinda awkward when houses are more like museums (just look, don’t touch). I need to remember that with my own home. I also need to remember to get out our camcorder at least on Christmas morning! P.S. thanks for commenting on my blog post.

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  14. This is a great post! I love what you said about KNOWING why you do something. That is so important to me too! and as for RECORD – yes. I do the same, but I do it EVERY year. I’m big on pictures and videos 🙂

    • In the past it’s just been the two of us, but I have a feeling the photo book frequency is going to have to increase now that I have a million pictures a month of our daughter 🙂

  15. Thank you for outlining these steps for tradition-making! Even before this carnival, I had been thinking that we ought to be observing more holidays together as a family — for the Critter’s sake, really, to help mark our passage through the year. But I’ve been a bit at a loss as to how to do so. For us, I think the “thinking” needs to begin with choosing the holidays and occasions (such as the vernal equinox — not really a holiday, but, for me, definitely something to celebrate!) that we want to observe.

    • We’re living overseas in China and also working on choosing which and how to celebrate various traditions which weren’t part of our lives growing up in the U.S. There are a lot to choose from here!!

  16. This was really nicely put. As a new mother and wife it’s sometimes hard to give up what you know and develop new traditions to compliment your new life. Thank you for sharing this.

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