Seeing Kelle, from Enjoying the Small Things, write about fall, creating traditions and sweet childhood memories got me thinking about our own family traditions. Over the years we have created quite a few for our wild bunch.
I am very big on creating traditions and celebrating. Hubbers has never been big on holidays but I think I am rubbing off on him as he seems to be thinking of traditions on his own! It always makes me smile when I hear my kids talking about past holidays or seasons with smiles on their faces. I didn’t grow up in the best of circumstances but I have always held tightly to any of the traditions my family did have, especially those involving my grandparents. I thought I’d share some of our traditions (and hope you’ll share yours too!)
A few at a glance –
For 10th birthdays, our kids get “Ambassador Birthday Parties.” Essentially, this means spending the night with three friends and the same gendered parent at a somewhat fancy hotel with a cool waterpark called the Ambassador Inn. This is a very sot after event and the kids look forward to it for years before it happens and then talk about it for years after. Yes it’s expensive… but the memories it creates are worth it and hey… it’s only one birthday! This year is Electric Lady’s turn and she is already planning for it even though her birthday isn’t until December.
Every February the province we live in celebrates Family Day. We always plan an outdoor family event (skiing, fort building, sledding, etc) and then have yummy hot chocolate. After participating in our first Annual Family Day, we decided to make a weekly family day. On this day, we can schedule no other events and need to choose something to do as a family. We’ve done anything from movie night to GPS scavenger hunts.
Every spring and every fall we do a “mini-trip” to one of the neighbouring big cities. We have three within a 2-3 hour driving distance. While there, we stay at a hotel with a pool and do some seasonal (in the fall) and educational (in the spring) activities. The kids very much look forward to this and we keep it cheap by using Hubbers reward dollars from work trips to pay for the hotel.
We have the common traditions of going to church, dyeing eggs, a family dinner and an Easter Egg hunt but have added a few others. One we added last year that I know will stick is a 12 day countdown to Easter with little eggs along the door frame. The kids loved decorating the paper eggs and were so excited to take them down each day. Some had little prizes, others messages and I really tried to tie in the real meaning of Easter within about half of them. We also made resurrection bread which I think we’ll keep doing to help get the idea in their heads.
On Canada Day, we always make some sort of red and white cake and go on a treasure hunt. I am not sure how this one even developed but we realized this year that we do the same thing every year. The kids were even asking 3 weeks prior what kind of cake we’d make! We never join the major festivities around us, preferring to keep it low-key and family oriented. We do hit the fireworks at the end of the night though.
The kids have a pool party every summer. This year it was bigger than previous years with inviting 2 friends each and a bunch of other activities, but I think we all preferred the smaller 1 friend, hotdogs and chips events of previous years.
We usually go to New Brunswick every summer as well (where we are from) and visit family and friends. The kids very much enjoy this and I love that we can show them our roots and help them get to know their extended family members.
Before school starts every year, I take the kids out individually to buy back to school stuff. It is a nice tradition to always spend one on one time with them before they go back to school and I don’t get to see them as much. They love feeling special, just going out with Mom.
Hubbers implemented a new tradition this fall to bake with one kid each weekend. This gives them one on one time and teaches them important skills. The kids are totally on board with this and my whole “I should go on a diet” idea I have had lately is really being challenged with all the yummy treats!
For Thanksgiving, we don’t have a lot out of the ordinary, other than inviting some good friends or family over for a good meal. One added is always having everyone write 3 things they are thankful for and guessing who said what. Hubbers is always the easiest to geuss as it never fails that he writes “FUR” somewhere in his list of three. (He rather likes our cats)
Dinner with honorary gandparents.
We carve pumpkins for Halloween and decorate the house to celebrate. The kids enjoy making a big deal out of choosing costumes for trick-or-treating from Value Village and getting a treat afterward. And of course, we always go trick-or-treating on halloween night.
I always drag everyone out for a “fall” photo every fall too. They may be disgruntled but I think it is important to document our family’s growth and changes.
Our family photo from a couple of years ago.
Our Christmas tree goes up by mid-November and the rest of the house gets decorated soon after. One of my fondest memories is staying up late to decorate the tree with my mom as a teen – hopefully my kids can have a warm feeling from tree decorating as they grow up too!
Lot’s of tree decorating fun.
An important tradition for our family is to choose a child for each of our own kids from the “Tree of Angels” from Sears and purchase Christmas presents for them. We also try to donate to the food bank and focus of those who have a lot less than we do.
On our way to buy presents.
On Christmas Eve we do an activity like sledding or baking then get dressed nicely to go to church. After church we open the one Christmas Eve present and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have a Happy Birthday Jesus cake.
Christmas traditions are the best!
I love traditions – it gives me warm feelings just thinking about all these things! The fall and Christmas seasons are my favourites for celebrating so I am excitedly planning our time.