“I love blowflies”….said no one ever! But that’s what my 19 year old daughter declared to me in early December last year. What blowflies had to offer I just couldn’t fathom! But she proceeded to tell me in one long sentence without even a breath how they remind her of family traditions; “I love blowflies because it’s warm and it means it’s nearly Christmas and that’s when we make gingerbread together and play Christmas music and have our Christmas Eve BBQ and we’re together and it’s just awesome!”.
In that one lengthy sentence, delivered with joy and a huge smile, I learned two important things. Firstly, the things that are just a routine part of how we ‘do’ Christmas are important to her, and secondly but more importantly, she loves it when we’re together.
Don’t stress about making traditions
Christmas is just one of many occasions on our calendar that lends itself to family traditions. On many different occasions in my early parenting years I remember hearing about the importance of family traditions. I got the message loud and clear that if I was a “good mum”, I’d set about making sure we started family traditions.
I was worried because at the time my girls were already a few years old, and I didn’t really know what traditions I should start. What if I started some and they didn’t continue? Then would it be too late to start others? I had to get it right, or I would have children with no traditions to look back on (shock horror!).
Your traditions will grow naturally
What I learned from my adult daughter that day as we discussed blowflies, was that the things we do as a family to celebrate Christmas ARE our family traditions. It’s because we do them together that she loves them. I needn’t have had angst about choosing traditions and making them happen. They happened just because we chose to celebrate together.
What has become the tradition to top all others in our family? We CHOOSE to celebrate!
Whether it’s special food at Christmas, decorating the house as a surprise before a birthday, we celebrate! We eat ice cream on the first day of school (and now Uni) each year and dress up on Cup Day when we don’t even go to the races. The nuts and bolts of the celebration itself can change, but the guts of it are the same. We choose to celebrate, we do it with enthusiasm, we include others in our joy, and we do it together.
Together is a tradition
Some might say that traditions are the glue that holds families together. I would say that families being together is its own kind of glue, that gives each member a wonderful sense of belonging to something special.
There is joy for our kids in the little things that we do with them, and even more joy in the fact we are doing it together. If you’re looking for family traditions, start by doing something you enjoy, do it with enthusiasm and do it together. The tradition part will take care of itself as the kids seek to repeat the joy with you next year too.