Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Jon loves a good list of goals. Seriously, a lot.  He says we get more done when we have goals.  So we just recently had a goal-setting date and we put our heads together and set some goals for ourselves and our family.

One of my goals was to establish “family traditions”. Is it weird to premeditate new traditions?  Does that defeat the point of traditions, to be really intentional about them?

I would like your ideas on some traditions that have blessed your family. With Christmas quickly approaching, I would also like holiday specific ones. 

Give me some feedback on this one.

A new tradition did start in my family this year.  It was my brother, Jay’s idea. The Saturday after Thanksgiving Football game. My side of the family  and cousins, aunts and uncles drove about 2 1/2 hours and played against the Schwabs.  It was a great time even though The Littles and I were only fans and spent most time inside. :)

Thanksgiving Football 151 Thanksgiving Football 117

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It was pretty hardcore and some great play.

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The Littles were not too impressed with football.

The biggest bummer of the day, Jay and Jeff got sick that morning.  They spent most of the day looking something like this.

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Our family’s players

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It was a close game, pretty evenly matched, but we lost.

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Hopefully having the home team advantage next year will work in our favor.  Thanks Schwabs for the great day!

Now it is your turn to share.  What are some traditions you love?


Allison said...

My dad used to read us "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas Eve after we got home from Grandma's before we went to bed. He actually went and had these Hallmark books that record your voice reading the book made for us last year and I am so excited for Lydia's Grandpa to read her that story every year!

Wells L said...

We used special glasses every Christmas morning to drink from while we ate Monkey bread in our pj's. Did it every Christmas up until I got married when stopped spending Christmas even night at my parents house (I was 32 years old).

chavarria family blog said...

Since we are parents to little ones too... we have started a couple of our own family traditions. I make whole wheat/yummy and healthy cinnamon rolls for breakfast(i can send you recipe) and we always have those christmas morning w/some fruit! the kiddos love it!!
We open stockings then do breakfast and then open all the rest of the gifts. Leigha love to leave stuff for santa-she leave him ham and cheese and dog food for the reindeer.
And since I have been married I have hosted a cookie baking day at my house for the girls in my fam(moms,grandma,sister in laws and the wee ones) and its always alot of fun and alot of messy, but so worth it.
On christmas eve we go to my uncles, and we have a big family dinner and the little ones usually get gifts but he always-reads the christmas story from the bible and it reminds us all of the reason for the season.
Ihope this helps, I know what your feeling.
Im the mom that wants my kids to have the experiences that I didn't. I never really had a big deal made of bdays and holidays growing up. So I want my kids to have those memories and I want them to with my kids!!

The Lehman's said...

Love the football game--great idea. As for Christmas traditions, we read the Christmas story from the Bible (or picture Bible story book--when the kids were smaller.) I have a friend who serves Birthday cake on Chritmas morning for their breakfast--it reminds them what they are really celebrating. (I think it just cake--no ice cream!!) julie :)

Matt & Bekah said...

Hi Amy - Here are some ideas - maybe some a little better for when your girls are older:

My friend's family has a birthday cake for Jesus every year, and the Mom hides a raisin in it. Whoever gets that piece of cake, gets a special gift - like a Jesus-themed ornament or something.

We have a special family Christmas dinner every year, where we invite both sets of grandparents, and eat by candlelight and use red linen napkins (which are artfully folded into some special design on each plate). We even grill steak - in the snow! Matt reads the Christmas story before we eat.

We also have Christmas stockings that we fill. Since we don't typically buy sugary cereal, for Christmas each kid gets a little box of sugar cereal (Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Loops, etc) as one of the things in their stocking, which they can eat for breakfast that day. I remember the year my Mom stopped doing stockings - sad day! For some reason, they were always one of the most fun parts of Christmas.

We also like to listen to Christmas music while decorating the house for Christmas.

For Valentine's day, we have another special family meal where we eat by candlelight and use the red linen napkins again, and have a nicer meal than normal. I try to make some sort of pink tapioca pudding as one of the menu items, and some sort of Valentine-y dessert. We drink red punch too. We then play a couple of Valentine games (who can stack the tallest tower using conversation hearts, etc, complete with prizes - to motivate the older kids to get involved).


Jennifer M said...

I love this topic! I tend to read not only adoption blogs, but blogs written by adoptees as well as other material to understand to the best of my ability how my children might feel about being adopted and connectedness to family during the many stages of growing up. One of the most impactful things I read was that traditions make the family (any family). Traditions make the family stronger, more dependable, more stable, and a more cohesive unit. So in our house, we're all for traditions! (And nothing wrong to be intentional about them.) The absolute best "new" tradition that we started is that when the weather is nice, we gather at Grammy and Grampy's in the afternoon after work and school for "kiddie coctail hour." The kids play and get their Grandma and Grandpa fix, the adults have a glass of wine (or coke or whatever), and we all chat for about 30-90 minutes depending on the day. Then we go our separate ways for dinner. We also do big family dinners once a week- Saturday night or Sunday after church depending on the schedules of my siblings.

Christmas is still fairly new (a first for Gav), but we always have Christmas morning together as a big family. I'm honestly not sure how long that will last though as all the grandkids get older. We definitely hunt for our tree together. Hot cocoa while decorating is a small tradition, but a tradition nonetheless (I don't usually give my children chocolate, so that's a super special treat).

We also do the kids Christmas eve service, come home and have a treat in front of the tree. Christmas morning breakfast is the same each year. The same routine is followed with all the young kids that we followed when we were all kids.

I think for us, the traditions that mean the most are the ones spent with family right now. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Maybe as the children get older and have an opinion, we'll have more traditions for just the 4 of us.

Ashley Baner said...

We always hid the baby Jesus from the nativity. It started as a joke and now my kids do it everytime we are at my mom's house!! Kind of weird I admit but I think that sometimes those things make the best traditions!! Whatever you do, do it several years in a row and your kids will grow up with it as a fond memory!

Jill said...

First I have to say, "go team Schwab!" Andy's mom is Jon's Schwab's sis, so it was fun to see them playing football with you! What a fun Thanksgiving tradition!

I am learning a few traditions from the responses here that we might incorperate at our Christmas. Two things that come to mind for us is: we all write "presents" to Jesus and keep them in a box to review each year. THey are like New Year Resolutions but something that we want to do better for HIm the next year (only by His grace of course!). THey are fun to read. You can also keep it private if you want. We also celebrate His birthday with a cake and singing to Him. Kids love that.

This will be our third year of sleeping around the Christmas tree the night we celebrate. You might get no sleep if you try that with your girls this year :-)

Sheila said...

What a great thread! Ok, so here are some of our traditions:

1. DH always reads The Christmas Story from the Bible on Christmas Eve after our church Christmas Eve service.
2. Kids always write Santa a letter to leave with cookies and milk. Santa, in turn, always writes a letter back to the kids including little known details about there lives and reminding them of the true meaning of the season.
3. Some Christmas' we decide to make gifts for each other instead of purchasing gifts. We always have a $25 limit and it has to be made by you. We have had some wonderful gifts and started this when our oldest was 3.
4. We volunteer in some way over the holidays.
5. When kids became old enough to play with toys on Christmas day, we stopped going to other houses and invited everyone to ours for a wonderful Christmas day breakfast (usually monkey bread and breakfast casserole).
6. Christmas Eve we open one present each.
7. We always buy a special ornament each year that reflects something positive that happened to us that year.
8. We just love each other and try to spend as much "fun time" as possible together!

Sorry if I went overboard!! Love the blog as we are waiting to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia.

Justin & Sarah said...

We are doing an advent calendar. Some families like to do a Jessie Tree. It is a wonderful way to teach kids, and build the anticipation for His birth. I made my own, and am filling it with verses, treats, etc. Baby Jesus is missing from the manger right now, and it got me thinking. Maybe Jesus could be absent from the nativity until the very last day of advent - Christmas Day. He is little enough, I could put Him in the last pocket of the advent calendar. (That is hoping I actually do find Him. With my kids, Baby Jesus could have made his way to the waste-water treatment plant by now. :()
Also, every Saturday is "sugar cereal" for breakfast. Because Hudson's sense of time isn't real developed yet, every morning he asks me if it is Saturday. LOL
There are so many neat books/activities out there to help shape traditions around the holidays - Resurrection Eggs for Easter, etc. I enjoyed reading the ideas listed above, and may have to implement a few myself! :) Love you Ames!

Q said...

I was thinking about not posting, but thought I would share our traditions. We made a commitment when we were first married and raising Beau that we would not lie or lead our children astray when it came to celebrating the holidays. So we don't do the normal Santa, Easter Bunny, Halloween and etc. We make a big deal on their birthdays - those are the days we choose to make about them and about receiving gifts. We have chosen Christmas as a time to give sacrifically and to let loved ones know how much we care about them. Our home is all decorated, which this year was the first my babes did it all on their own. They loved it. For stockings, we write letters to each other and put them as stocking stuffers. We only do a few small gifts for the family, but as a family we go shopping for others. We did the Christmas Bureau this year and a few other projects. We try to make Christmas Eve our family's time together. We decorate cookies, make a Christmas craft, eat a special dinner, and open the family gift. If you don't carve out a time for your family, everyone else will consume it.
I have grand ideas and plans each Christmas but find that life doesn't lend itself to big, elaborate plans right now. So, I would suggest that you keep it simple, something that you can do even when life around you is chaotic.
God bless you as you come up with things that would bring Him glory this season.