Celebrating With Parents While Building Our Traditions

By Trillia Newbellornament

My husband and I have wonderful parents who enjoy holiday traditions. We have maintained throughout our marriage that we would participate while the kids are young and for as long as our parents desire to continue their traditions. Every year has been a tremendous joy. We believe this is a simple way to express our love and appreciation for them. Our parents get to celebrate the holidays with us and our children. Our kids love their traditions—as do we.

But as we are getting older, we both have a desire to start our own family traditions. It’s been wonderful to explore ideas. It’s as if we celebrate for two months! Here are a few ways my husband and I seek to start our own family traditions and build lasting memories while also enjoying the traditions of our parents.

Thanksgiving on Saturday: My friend, Gloria Furman, tweeted (funny how we communicate these days) that she would be doing Thanksgiving on Saturday.  I thought it was a fantastic idea for our family too. I believe she is celebrating on Saturday because of the culture in Dubai, where she lives. But for us, we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving twice! Every year we attend a big Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s (it’s wonderful!). On Saturday we generally put up our Christmas tree, but this year we are going to combine the Christmas tree celebration with a dinner. This will be a new tradition that we hope will bring long lasting memories for our family.

The reason: I am what one might call a foodie. I am a foodie that loves to eat and really enjoys cooking. I rarely cook anything on Thanksgiving but I am always staring over Thern’s mom or my mom’s shoulder while they cook. My kids and I will enjoy jumping in the kitchen together and building a tradition of cooking, eating and thanking the Lord for his provision of delicious food. There is something about food and memories.

Advent Devotional:  Each year we try to read something together but this year we will be joining our church through an Advent devotional. Though we often spend Christmas at my in-laws home, our special devotional time will be a blessing to our little family as we build Christmas traditions together.

The reason: There are many debates about Christmas and celebrating what some might argue is a secular holiday. Where ever you fall in the debate there is one thing that we can argue is true, Jesus’ name is probably not said, sung or proclaimed more than this time of year. We want to take advantage of this sweet time and celebrate Jesus birth and personhood during this special season. We want our kids to understand why and who we are truly celebrating!

 Ornaments:  Each year my husband and I buy Christmas ornaments. This year he wanted us to include our kids by making ornaments. So for the first time we will be making ornaments, starting a new family tradition.

The reason: It’s simple really; my husband and I want to build fun and creative traditions with our children. We hope that the kids will anticipate creating together each year. And I hope my husband will enjoy leading this adventure because I am neither artsy or crafty.

Giving:  One tradition that my kids are particularly fond of is receiving gifts from their grandparents. What kid doesn’t like that! But we want to instill in them a heart that rejoices when others receive. My husband thought before we receive we ought to give away as much of the toys and clothes that we currently have as possible to kids who may not receive this Christmas.

The reason: Christmas can very easily turn into an indulgent time of year. We want our kids to be outward focused. We realize that only God can do this work of grace in their hearts so we aren’t going to try to force change. But we desire to give them opportunities do good works and provide teaching moments for us. We are trusting God to do the rest.

Those are a few of our traditions that my family is building through the holidays. What are some of your family traditions? What are some things that we might be able to incorporate in ours?


Recommended reading: Treasuring God in Our Traditions, by Noel Piper

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