Traditions in the Middle Ages
If you think you are done with holiday traditions once your kids leave home, think again. They actually become more important. Why? Because when you’re doing things with your toddlers, they haven’t yet stood the test of time to actually become traditions. Once your children are older, those sugar cookies you baked and frosted every year become sweet memories to repeat even into adulthood.
My three children, ages 22, 24 and 26, were all home for Thanksgiving. One drove in from Arkansas with her boyfriend. The other two showed up late Wed. night from Texas. My son flew in from Dallas and my daughter drove from Austin (with traffic and getting lost, it was a long trip). I started dozing off, and I felt like I was being awakened every hour to another kid standing over me saying, “Mom, I’m home.”
My 24-year-old daughter reminded me of the time when she was in preschool (20 years ago!) and the teacher, Miss Patty, was talking about the days of the week and holidays. When she got to Saturday, my daughter offered the following bit of information. “Saturday is Donut Day!” she said.
“Donut Day?” Miss Patty questioned. “I think that may be just in your family.”
In my 4-year-old daughter’s mind, everyone had Donut Day on Saturday because it was a predictable family tradition for us. We either got donuts or went out for breakfast on Saturdays.
Little things are important, especially those small, predictable activities. My daughter asked my dad if he had Donut Day on Saturdays, and he said, “Every day is Donut Day for me. I’m retired.”
Thanksgiving at our house has become a cornucopia of food traditions. Even though we had way too many side dishes this year, I made every one that my kids requested. I used my mom’s traditional Southern cornbread dressing recipe, and it was almost as good as hers. My youngest had a birthday on Nov. 27, so I made her favorite cake.
And, yes, while many of our traditions revolve around food, all six of us adults piled into the car and drove to Utica Square in time to do the countdown to Lights On with Santa.
I don’t think that in the midst of being busy with young children that I truly appreciated that we were building memories and traditions.
But, as you go about your days, especially during the holidays when things can be a little hectic, think about the small things that you’re doing that your children will look forward to every year (or, in the case of Donut Day, every week). What traditions to you bring with you from your own childhood?
Frosting those cookies or making that broccoli rice casserole may seem like the last thing you want to do, but they really are small things. And it’s so great when your adult children come back and want to do it all again.