As Anton Ego put it in the movie Ratatouille, "... you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?"
Throughout the years I have come to have a
deep respect for the role family rituals and traditions have on the
healthy state of our family.
For many years I worked as a Family
Consultant with Once Upon A Family and picked up a few ideas. Although
traditions in our home have had seasons of success and seasons of rest
or have had to be modified and/or changed to fit our family's needs,
they still exist!
Each issue of 4 Traditions features ideas I have gathered and/or created that you can use or modify to fit your family's needs.
Make a special "Reindeer Mix" with one cup of oats, one cup of barley,
and two spoonfuls of gold glitter. It's a secret recipe that comes
straight from the North Pole, and is just what the reindeer need to fuel
them for their evening of delivering gifts. On Christmas Eve, instruct
your children to leave the mix o n the driveway, front lawn, or any
other spot where the reindeer might want to rest and enjoy a snack.
After the kids have gone to bed, clear most of the mix away, leaving
just a few oats as evidence that the reindeer have made their visit.
Gingerbread Man Chain...
This is a
wonderful way to organize your holiday To-Do list, so you can actually
enjoy the festivities. Make a paper chain with 24 Gingerbread Men, and
write the numbers 1 through 24 on the front of each one. Make a list of
all the things you need to do during the month of December and write
one on the back of each Gingerbread Man (buy the Christmas tree,
decorate the Christmas tree, hang the outdoor lights, decorate inside
the house, make homemade cookies, donate toys, wrap presents, and mail
the out-of-town gifts, etc.) Breaking the month of December down into
one small task a day will make the holidays fun instead of
overwhelming. At the same time, it will show your children that there
is more to Christmas than just treats and presents. Your children will
love taking Gingerbread Man down each day to discover which Christmas
task they can help you with next.
The Kindness Box...
first is the perfect time to start your family "Kindness Box" for the
holidays. Wrap a shoebox as if it were a present, then cut a slot in
the top and place the box, along with a pencil and pad of paper, on the
dining room table or under your Christmas tree. When someone in the
family notices someone else being kind they should write that act down
and slip the note in the box. Young children can participate as well,
by either drawing a picture or telling mom what they saw and having her
jot down the kind deed. Don't forget to slip in ways God shows His
kindness to us. On Christmas Eve, when everyone gathers around to read
the Christmas story, open the Kindness Box first and read the notes
aloud. Then you can end with explaining that the kindest act of all is
what God did for us by sending Jesus to us on the very first Christmas
ever. Then read the Christmas story. There are several age appropriate
books as well as reading it straight from the Bible. This is a
wonderful way to take the focus off presents and put it on something of
Hanging Wish List
tradition is a new twist on making a wish list of what we want for
Christmas. You create a pouch, for each family member, to hold the
Christmas wish list. Fold a 10" x 4" piece of construction paper in
half, punch 3-4 holes on each of three sides, and lace around it with
festive string or ribbon. Tie it at the top, leaving extra ribbon for
hanging. Have fun decorating them with each person's name, and feel
free to make one for Grandma and Grandpa, or any other out-of town
people. Hang these "Wish List Pouches" where they will be accessible to
all family members. Instead of adding to your own list of what sort of
stuff you might want, family members will add to others' lists of what
they would like to see other family members receive. Maybe brother
knows that sister loves candy canes and he can wish she gets some candy
canes in her stocking this year. But even better is to write down "good
tidings of great joy" type of wishes. Maybe great grandpa has a bad
hip, someone can wish that he feels better really soon. Before
Christmas dinner have everyone open up their wish list and read all of
their wonderful wishes. It's like receiving wonderful blessings placed
upon their lives and these are gifts that can't be broken or worn out!