Thursday, September 22, 2016

Family Traditions {52 Lists}

Fall Traditions

The first day of fall is today, but I consider our summer season over the day we start back to school in August.

School. We start back the first week of August. We work on getting a routine going again and the children are usually excited to begin a new year with new material.

Apple picking. This fall with be only our second year doing this, but we had such a blast last year that we must do it again. An apple pie will follow.

Friday night movie. We don't do this every Friday, but now that we are headed into fall and winter we will be picking up on this tradition again. Sometimes the movie has to do with a history topic we are studying or it is a feel-good holiday movie. I like to have a picnic-style dinner in the living room, usually pizza, so that the movie can get started earlier (and end earlier so the children can get to bed at a decent hour). 

Thanksgiving Day parade. As I prepare the meal, I turn on the parade for the children to watch. Honestly, they are not too interested in it because they do not recognize the characters on many of the floats or balloons and don't know most of the songs. I try to keep them away from "pop culture" as much as possible, but I grew up watching the parade so it is nice to have it on. They do get excited for Santa at the end.

Thanksgiving dinner. This tradition has changed over the years. We used to go to my husbands parents house but because my family's diet is so different, it is easier to prepare our own dinner at home. Both sets of grandparents often join us. We do not have a turkey and I am oftentimes trying a new recipe to replace it. We always have mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and any other vegetable dishes I feel like trying. My mother-in-law brings a delicious sweet potato casserole and my mother usually brings some sort of dessert. My dad likes to make something savory to bring, and my husband often makes fresh bread or dinner rolls.

Day-After-Thanksgiving Cleaning. I loathe "Black Friday" and avoid shopping the entire weekend. Instead, I spend Friday deep-cleaning the house and putting away any fall decorations. Then depending on how quickly that all gets done, we bring out the Christmas decorations and put on a Christmas movie.

Winter Traditions

Technically, it is still fall when we do most of these things, but as far as I am concerned, the winter/Christmas season begins the day after Thanksgiving. 

Picking Out a Christmas Tree. This is done normally on Saturday after Thanksgiving. For the past 3 or 4 years, we've gotten a real tree, which I love. The smell, the unique and not-so-perfect appearance, and the fact I don't need to find a place to store it. I don't even mind cleaning up the pine needles.  One year, we got our cleaning done early and went on a Friday evening to pick out our tree, which was a magical experience to find a tree at night, bundled up in our winter coats and the children playing between all the trees and seeing their breath in the cold and crisp night air. 

Decorating the Tree. I usually wait for my youngest to be taking a nap before I attempt to decorate anything. The older two take turns holding the string of lights as I wrap them around the tree. Then I let the two of them put the ornaments on the tree while I sit back and supervise. The first year I did this, I moved the ornaments around after they were done. Last Christmas, I let all the ornaments stay where the children put them, because I saw how much thought and care they put into placing each one. The tree looked awkward to anyone who visited, but I truly loved it. This year, we will not be getting a tree because we'll be moving, but I can't wait to have the littlest one participate in decorating next year.

The Nutcracker. Bridget and I dress up and attend a showing of the Nutcracker ballet. We love the music and many of the dancers are teachers or older girls from her dance studio. Bridget has dreams of one day being Clara.

Baking Cookies. The children and Daddy often make cookies together and I get to watch while taking pictures. My husband sticks to either chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. Anything fancier than that, I usually do the baking. But this is a special time for him and the children.

Spring Traditions

Strawberry picking. My husband and I have done this almost every year, even before the children were born.

Daffodil field. There is an area off one of the country roads just outside our town that someone, many years ago, planted thousands of daffodil bulbs in a grove of Southern pine trees. Many locals flock to the area to take their Easter pictures in the field, while others (like myself) take their families to enjoy to beauty of the area. This is another tradition that we are not able to experience every year, as the daffodils are only in full bloom for a very short period of time.

Summer Traditions

Blueberry picking. We don't do this every year, as it is hard to tell when the blueberries will be ready for picking due to how cold and how long the previous winter was. Next year, I want to plan a peach picking trip.

Myrtle Beach trip. Each year after tax season and Bridget's ballet performance, we make a trip to Myrtle Beach where my husbands boss has a condo. This trip officially kicks off our summer season. The grandparents alternate each year and it is so nice to have two extra pairs of hands to help out with the little ones at the beach, the pool, and any activities we plan.

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  1. I love family traditions! Over the years our list has grown as we carried some on from our childhood and then made some of our own :) The daffodil field sounds so beautiful!

    1. My list has grown just by reading other lists. Everyone has such fun traditions. If only I could do them all!

  2. What a lovely collection of traditions! I remember striking the same balance with our tree ornaments when my kids were younger - wanting the tree to look balanced and "perfect" but not wanting to undo their work. :-) The daffodil field sounds beautiful.

    1. Thank you! I used to be so worried with how the tree looked, but it brings the children so much joy and pride when they do it themselves.

  3. I love your traditions, such great family activities. I can't wait for Clark to get a little older so we can do something like movie nights!

    Have you considered doing a Christmas tree art project with the kids? Like a construction paper tree that they can cut out and decorate ornaments for. It would be easy to move from here to there with moving plus they would still get a "tree" for the season. (Just a thought!)

    1. Having a picnic meal in front of the television works wonders with getting Liam to sit still for a movie. The older children love being able to "break the rules" on movie nights.

      A Christmas tree art project sounds like a great idea!


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