Melanie Jeanne


[photo credit: pinterest]

I adore my Mr because he puts up with me. The other night we were engaged in one of those couple conversations in which I was fretting over nearly everything. Every detail of the upcoming holiday season. Fretting over schedules and timing and people and places. I over-think every situation. I over-complicate nearly every situation as well. I am a “try too hard” kind of girl that inevitably feels let down when the trying results in a less than stellar event.

I have been fretful over holiday traditions since Doodle was born. I have been concerned about getting to a place where I determine and decide what our holiday traditions will be. Doodle is heading into her fifth Christmas and the bottom line is I have not created a single tradition. Not one.

This year is the year though. Enter incredible Mr and his calming ways. When we were having that discussion about holiday traditions, I was sharing how important they are to me. How much I want to create traditions for our family and ensure that the girls carry memories of the holidays in our family when they are grown. The fret I carry has everything to do with ensuring that everyone is involved. That no one is left out. That my traditions include every kiddo we love. The trouble with that is we are not our big girls primary home. We are their “every other weekend” home and all of their holiday traditions run thick at their primary home. Mr gave me perspective. Gave me permission to create traditions despite schedules. Gave me love and freedom to create for our four year old without worry of our older girls.

So, it’s on. Heart open. Heart full. Heart ready to develop traditions for my Doodle. If the big girls are involved, even better! This year I am consciously thinking of traditions to carry us through the holiday season. Doodle being little is fleeting. Doodle experiencing the wonder and delight of the holidays will fade sooner than I want to acknowledge (those pesky teen years are right around the corner). And the memories I would love for her to cherish should be threaded throughout her childhood.

Tradition ideas that have been running through my head:

* Thanksgiving Conversation of Gratitude – At the dining table during the meal, give every person a turn to discuss the things they are grateful for this year.

* Thanksgiving Day Meal – I would like to get into the habit of preparing the traditional fixings. My mom did this wonderfully once we were grown and gone. She would buy the smallest turkey or just the breast. Prepare mashed potatoes, stuffing, hash brown casserole and stock up on a couple pies for her and my dad. It afforded them the ability to celebrate the holiday at friends houses, but have the traditional left overs for themselves. No matter how many kiddos we have around our table, I love the idea of turkey sammies the day after turkey day.

* Decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving – Making hot cocoa or coffee and taking the time to decorate the house with carols playing in the background. It’s a childhood memory of mine and I cannot wait to carry on the tradition.

* Donating our loved items to a shelter – reviewing all that we have and taking time to select specific items to donate to shelters to start the holidays.

* Baking Holiday Cookies – Ensuring there is a day dedicated to baking cookies with Doodle. Decorating sugar cookies, stuffing hershey kisses into Peanut Butter Blossoms, finding a new recipe to try each year.

* Visiting Snow – Taking a road trip at least once in December to Flagstaff to see and play in the snow for the day. Sled, build a snowman, make snow angels. Living in Arizona has more perks than disappointments, however, Christmas is depicted as a snowy blustery holiday. I want to give our family the spirit of Christmas once each holiday season.

* Shopping Days with each parent individually – Allowing Doodle the ability to shop with just me for our Mr and just our Mr for me. Give her the excitement of picking out the perfect present for her parent and spending a day of dedicated time with the other. Special bonding moments and the thrill of the perfect present hunt.

* Christmas Angel – Selecting a Christmas Angel from a tree at the mall. Have Doodle select a little in need and shop for him/her in order to make someone who is underpriveleged have a magical Christmas.

* Opening 1 Gift from Under the Tree on Christmas Eve – It’s a tradition I carry with me from my childhood. I always started eyeing presents and their shapes to determine which one I wanted to open before church each year. I cannot wait for Doodle to start eyeing the packages for the same reason.

* Cookies, Carrots and a Note for Santa – Taking the time to organize a plate of cookies for Santa and including carrots for the reindeer. Writing a note of thanks to Santa as well.

* Monkey Bread Christmas Morning with Cocoa and Coffee – Making sure we have monkey bread ready for Christmas morning presents. Brewing coffee and preparing mugs of cocoa topped with mini marshmallows.

* Christmas Movies throughout the month of December – Watching favorite movies throughout the holiday season. Starting the Christmas season off with Miracle on 34th Street the night after Thanksgiving and watching our favorites frequently, at least once a week would be magical.

* Present Ornament on the Tree – I grew up with a magical present ornament on the tree. After all the excitement and tearing through the wrapping paper. After all the dust settled, my dad would sweetly remind us to look on the tree. We would hunt down our ornament that had been hidden and find something charming in the box. Earings. Rings. Necklaces. Bracelets. Lovely.

* Celebrate Papa on the 26th – Though my folks live in Michigan now, carry on our family tradition of shopping the day after Christmas, Papa’s birthday. Anything that didn’t fit right gets returned and replaced with the perfect fit and the right gift. Lunch as a family. Usually a movie. A day together outside of the house after the hustle of Christmas.

What are your family holiday traditions? What have you carried on from your own childhood? What have you created as an adult for your children? Happy Holidays!

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