Two Family Traditions I Stole...And You Can Too!

When I became a mom, one of my goals was to instill traditions in our home! The problem was… I came from a family that, for whatever reason, didn’t really practice any traditions. I have so many friends who would talk about the traditions of their family and always found myself enthralled with the very idea…let alone the practice of it. I was determined.

But what is a girl to do when she doesn’t have any traditions to pass on???? I have found two methods that work particularly well

1. Make them up (this is how the Xmas tradition of breakfast waffles started)

2. Steal them!!! (Awarding full credit to the inspiration, of course)

There are two amazing traditions that I completely stole (from famous people) and inserted into my family flawlessly…and couldn’t be more thrilled with what I have stolen. The first tradition is specific to the Christmas Holiday, but could easily be modified to fit the holiday your family celebrates (i.e. Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Festivus, etc.). The second of these pilfered traditions can be done monthly, weekly, or even daily. My ultimate goal is to utilize this one 365 days a year… we currently manage a few days per week! So without further ado, here they are….

1. Our Christmas Eve tradition was stolen from the very charming Dakota Fanning from an interview she did on a morning talk show years ago. When asked when they open presents for Christmas, Dakota reported that her family always opens up one, and only one, gift on Christmas Eve. The present is always the same thing year to year… A NEW PAIR OF PAJAMAS!

At the time I watched this, my daughters were just over two-years-old and four-months-old… so it was easily implemented without having to even explain anything! So that year my two daughters, husband and I all got brand new PJs. The best part is that pictures on Christmas morning look so much better because of the new pajamas. Nothing is worse than an adorable picture of a kid smiling opening a gift wearing tattered, worn looking pajamas. This solves that problem.

At the beginning, my daughters would get matching pajamas, but my husband and I didn’t. Now that my daughters are older I try to coordinate the choices at least. For instance, last year my daughters got the same Vikings jammies, and my husband and I both got Vikings jammies that were different. This year we will all have Angry Birds pajamas (shh, don’t tell). Eventually I plan to get matching footie pajamas for all of us…but boy are those spendy.

2. Tradition number 2 comes from yet another television interview (I love TV- don’t judge!) of a very famous political figure. I am choosing not to name names, because I would hate for someone to miss out on this great family tradition simply because they don’t agree with this person’s politics. The name of this tradition is “Roses and Thorns” and is super simple. Basically, at the dinner table (or anywhere for that matter) each member of the family takes turns to announce their “ROSE” for the day (something good) and their “THORN” for the day (something bad). This has been a wonderful addition to our nights. My daughters are typically the ones that suggest doing it and someone volunteers to go first… I normally am delivered information about their days that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Whenever I ask about how their school day went, I am told – “fine” or something similar. When doing “Roses and Thorns” my girlies really reflect on their day and I get more substance about what is going good and bad….and I am so grateful. Plus, my husband and I reflecting on our days and sharing with our kids provide them with insight into the everyday things we deal with. Prospective on bad days is really good to hold on to… being forced to think of something good helps show that there is always something positive in our lives. Sometimes my girlies surprise me with their roses by choosing to announce the meal that I cooked was their “ROSE” or the squeeze I gave them when I got home was… which of course, just makes all my thorns chip away. (Alternative name for this tradition could be “warm fuzzies” and “cold pricklies”… the ex-teacher in me likes that one.)

While most of us think of tradition as connecting us to the past…I like to think of it differently. I think if I do a good job of implementing these traditions in my family (i.e. brainwashing) that my daughters will keep them in their families, and their children will, and so on. To me this is about me trying to connect with future generations…. Generations that I won’t be lucky enough to know, but hope that I can still touch with the gifts I pass forward…so they know that Great-Great-Great Grandma Crystal loved them enough to steal from a child actress and a politician!