This week the 4 Moms of Many are talking about family traditions. Traditions help give our children a sense of family history and culture and a feeling of belonging. They are experts on their own family traditions.
Traditions also create lasting memories. It’s fun to listen to a 4 or 5 year old say to their younger sibling, “I remember when I was a little kid…”
Be sure to visit the other Moms of Many to read about their family traditions:
Our family has numerous family traditions. From simple weekly traditions like family fun night to traditions like our regular tea parties and eating a tv dinner when daddy is away on business. We have a whole liturgy of simple birthday traditions that make the day special for the birthday child and November and December are awash with annual family traditions.
The whole week of Thanksgiving is riddled with tradition as Mark takes off work and we prepare to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family (often more than 30 people).
On one of those pre-Thanksgiving days the whole family heads out into the woods or a deserted field (someplace that is never mowed is best) and we gather natural materials to use in decorating. Sticks, dried seed pods and flowers, evergreens and sometimes even rocks are gathered and we spend the afternoon arranging our organic treasures to decorate our home.
We enjoy exploring God’s creation and marveling at the beauty of texture even in a world that’s been stripped of most of it’s spring and summer color.
The marshmallow fight
Sometime during November or December (often during the week of Thanksgiving) Mark and I declare WAR on the children. All you need for this is a bag (or half a bag) of full-sized marshmallows and a sense of daring. (Well us mommas need a sense of daring to be OK with everyone throwing marshmallows all over the house.) Mark and I divide up our ammo and when the children are least expecting, we attack. We’re outnumbered so we start with all of the ammo, but that quickly changes as we throw marshmallows and the war rages all over the house with everyone racing to pick up and collect the fallen marshmallows. (No relationship between this and the marshmallow gun tutorial. We just throw the marshmallows, shooting may put me over the top.)
Marshmallows that get left under furniture just dry out, no sticky, smelly mess and they are too artificial to attract any critters, I’m just saying.
We spend one of our afternoons preparing pumpkins. The kids look forward to this every year and as soon as they see pumpkins in the grocery, they start reminding me that we need to buy them.
We tackle several pumpkins and make it a big deal with the whole family being involved. Mark and I cut the pumpkin into pieces and then each child gets to scrape pumpkin seeds and pulp from their own section. Part of the fun is watching the younger children explore the tastes and texture of pumpkin. Last year Nicholas (then 1) ate a good deal of raw pumpkin, pulp and skin.
After we bake and mash the pumpkin, we roast and eat the seeds. This is the children’s favorite part and they will talk about how delicious roasted pumpkin seeds are for weeks after. Matthew says, “I can’t survive the year if we don’t make roasted pumpkin seeds.”
We use the pumpkin in a soup (Pumpkin Soup Recipe) that we serve as an appetizer on Thanksgiving Day (delicious especially when sipped out of a mug) and a variety of pumpkin desserts. We freeze the remainder of the pumpkin to use throughout the rest of the year.
The day after
The day after Thanksgiving we get out the Christmas decorations and spend the day decorating and eating Christmas cookies. (It’s whats for lunch, ya know.)
We string popcorn and cranberries, decorate the Christmas tree and snuggle in front of the fire.
We have a whole traditional menu of goodies to eat with leftover turkey sandwiches when it’s time for dinner (Cranberry Pretzel Dip and homemade Heath Bars make this list). The big kids have learned to save room, but usually the younger ones are too full of cookies to enjoy it.
I suppose the bottom line is that family traditions need not be elaborate or expensive. Just making a decision to slow down and do something with your family can turn into a ‘tradition’ that your children may want to continue doing with their children.
I wonder what traditions the other Moms of Many have to share.
What are some of your favorite traditions? We are always looking to add to our collection.
Next Thursday be ready to link up with the 4 Moms and share your best Thanksgiving decorating ideas and recipes.