When I was five years old we moved completely across the country from California to Massachusetts. All of our family was in California. For the first time ever, it was just us.
Holiday traditions had to be just our little nuclear family. We didn't know other people to invite into our home to share the day with us when we first moved. It was just us.
My mom was amazing at creating traditions. We watched parades, ate certain things, read certain stories, decorated our home with our preschool artwork, set up the tree after Thanksgiving and pulled it down before my birthday in January. She really had a knack for making things special.
Sometimes, I think I have failed my own children in this regard. It's not that I don't want to have traditions, it's just that holidays are spent bouncing back and forth between different family's homes. It is hard to bring traditions with you when you are spending Christmas in Missouri or when Christmas schedules are dictated by your nearby family.
Last year our Thanksgiving plans were thrown off by the loss of the baby and the fact that I was not allowed to leave home until they were sure the procedure had worked. This year is our year to be home for Christmas, but our local family cannot get together.
The past two years i have had the "just us" time I have been craving. And you know what's funny? I had no idea what to do with it! For Thanksgiving I was not up to cooking a big meal my kids would refuse to eat, so we went to a buffet where Tim and I could get turkey and the girls could get what they liked. This year Christmas is on a Sunday so we will spend it worshiping with our beloved church family.
Yet, somehow, I want to carve in some traditions, those things my girls will look back on and say, "Remember how we always did xyz?"
I am starting small. For Christmas, starting December 1, we will unwrap one book from under the tree and read it. They are Christmas themed books. It is a fun tradition to help us count down to Christmas, and it can go on the road the years we travel. I am also trying to start a tradition of making homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning. Not something I would spend the time or money on normally, so hopefully it will be special to them.We also try to decorate gingerbread houses at least once in the season, although that didn't happen last year.
What other easy-to-travel, flexible traditions do you have? I know I am not the only mom of little ones who goes to grandma's for Christmas. In fact, I am learning that our isolation of having holidays "just us" is somewhat unusual. Most people have time with extended family this time of the year, and it is a good thing. Yet, I want some fond memories of "just us" for my girls to look back on. And in order to do that, I need to be purposeful.
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