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Traditions

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Why I don’t give My Kids Christmas Presents and What I Do Instead!

I remember it vividly. The 9.5ft tall Christmas tree filling up the living room with sparkly presents stacked so high around it that half of it seemed buried. At the time I was the oldest with 7 foster kids younger than me, and the 2nd youngest of my 8 biological siblings. There were a lot of us, but even at 17 years old I sat looking at the tree and wondered how many of those prettily wrapped up packages would be for me. When the much anticipated Christmas morning came I was as excited as the younger kids. My mom was the BEST present giver ever, and I couldn’t wait to see what surprises awaited me.

I remember opening gift after gift, delighted with each new one, but eager for the next. When the tree was empty I secretly looked around it searching for any lost presents with my name on them that might have been missed underneath the mess of wrapping paper, disappointment filling me when I couldn’t find any. 

The first few years Eric and I were married we did what everyone else does. Got ready for Christmas by executing carefully thought out gifts for our little girls. It was fun to be the mom and to do all the shopping for Christmas, but I also remember a lot of late nights and stress over how to provide the perfect gift, not only for each other but for the kids as well. It seemed like the more Christmases that went by the less I was thinking about the baby Jesus and the more I was thinking about how to create the perfect experience for baby Proffitt’s. 

On our kids 3rd or 4th Christmas together,  we decided together that there must be another way to do Christmas that helped keep our little family focused on the Savior, but that would still provide a magical experience we both loved from our own childhoods. After much prayer and debate, we kindly asked our extended family not to give presents to our kids, and we also agreed not to buy anything ourselves.

That first year we decided not to give gifts, Christmas morning was a total failure. We still hung stockings and we told the kids that all of us have Christmas Angels in our lives.

The Christmas Angel is anyone that loves you.

It could be your mom, or grandma, or even a neighbour down the road.

The thing that our Christmas Angel has in common with all other Christmas Angels is that they love us and want to bring a little magic into our lives. 

It was easy than to tell the kids that it was the Christmas angel that filled up their stockings that morning. But after we had opened stockings we didn’t really have anything else planned. While other families were excitedly cleaning up their houses to get it ready for present opening we were looking through the stockings, hoping we’d missed something. While other families were unwrapping, and playing with their new toys, we were sorta hanging out at home doing nothing. I had envisioned us just sitting around in a circle talking about Jesus all day, and thought that somehow that would have been exciting for the kids!

Analaea celebrates her 3rd Christmas

Although I was terribly disappointed, with vision vs reality, I knew there had to be a better way. I had thought it would be enough to take away presents and suddenly everyone in the family would become focused on the Savior, but I was wrong! If anything it made the focus on the Savior non-existent as the kids felt sad, lonely and really let down.

As Eric and I lay in bed that night we reflected on what we could have done better. We realised that if we were going take something as big as Christmas presents away from the kids, we needed to have something pretty fantastic to replace it with. And so over the years we began slowly creating our perfect Christmas Day, making sure it was filled with traditions that were meaningful, fun, memorable AND that helped us turn our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ. Today, 15 years later, here is a list of what we do to Celebrate Christmas starting from December 1. 

CHRISTMAS BOOKS

At the beginning of December I always get my favorite Christmas stories and wrap them up under the Christmas tree. You might remember that I don’t give my kids presents on Christmas morning, however, I do like giving presents I just don’t want it to eclipse the real meaning of Christmas. So If there is something I really want my kids to have that will ADD to the spirit (the real spirit) of Christmas than I wrap it up early and leave a little note from the Christmas Angel under the tree. A few new picture Books about Jesus definitely qualify as adding to the spirit of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS TREE

As soon as December  rolls around we are eager to find a lovely scented pine to adorn the center of our home.  We usually bundle up the children and tromp through the nearby community pasture in search of the perfect tree. The snow is deep and more often than not we end up getting stuck, but it’s all worth it when we strap that beauty to the top of the car and bring it home.

My husband and brother loading up the ugliest tree, they’ve ever brought home!

Somehow the trees seems to look better in the forest than they do when we get home, but isn’t that just like me in some ways? If someone was to strip away all the surroundings of my life, my friends, my family, my lovely house and nice car, would I look as beautiful? I think not, but it is in those imperfections that we find room for Christ, He is the great Jehovah who can make up the difference.  And so as I adorn my tree each year, I think of Christ and how because of Him we are made whole, perfect and eventually presentable to God.

The decorating of the Christmas tree is a special event in our home and over the years we have made a conscience effort to create a tree that reminds us of all things Christ. Here are some of the decorations I put on our tree this year and why:

STARS- To represent the Star that led the wisemen and shepherds to the Christ Child

DOVES- To represent the Peace that Jesus brings to our hearts when we let Him in

BIRDS- To represent the Freedom that Jesus will bring when He comes again

ANGELS- The scriptures are full of references to Angels spreading God’s word

BABY IN A MANGER

CROWNS- To remind us that He is king

PINECONES- Or anything nature to remind us that He was the CREATOR of all things

KEYS- To remind us that God has the Key to all power

HEARTS- To remind us why He died for us- “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth shall not perish but have everlasting life”

CHRISTMAS MUSIC

Music has a great power to influence the feeling in a home and in a heart, which is why songs about Santa, and Snowflakes aren’t top of my list songs for a Christmas playlist. When I play Christmas music, I want it to be deliberate, extraordinary and add to the spirit in our home by delivering a powerful message about Jesus Christ.  That doesn’t mean that Santa and Snowflakes don’t sneak in every so often, but by and large our Christmas playlist is comprised of songs that testify of Jesus Christ.

We have a really lovely playlist on Spotify that has lots of the old classic Christmas carols and but mostly includes beautiful songs that talk about the Savior and not Santa. Here is a list of some of our favorite Christmas Albums:

  • Josh Groban- Noel
  • Pentatonix
  • Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square
  • Susan Boyle
  • Vienna Boys Choir
  • 4 Tenors
  • David Archuleta- David
  • Celtic Woman-A Christmas Celebration
  • Charlotte Church- Dream a Dream
  • Jackie Evancho- Dream With Me
  • Susan Boyle- The Gift

SECRET SANTA

We spend a lot of time doing secret Santa to our friends and neighbours throughout the month of December. We wrap up packages of books, or treats, or hot chocolate and drop it off. We ring the doorbell and hide, and the kids always get caught and the chase is exciting 🙂

CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES

We fill December with Christmas Activities such as: Skating, sledding, skiing, singing, reading Christmas stories around the fire, drinking hot chocolate, & decorating gingerbread houses.

Decorating gingerbread houses

CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONALS

We often have a Christmas devotional each night of the month leading up to Christmas. Usually I’ll prepare a treat, like hot chocolate, and then we’ll sit around the tree and read something inspirational. The kids are allowed to invite their friends to join us for these devotionals. 

I have collected my favorite stories and scriptures into a devotional packages that you can get which is filled with sweet stories, songs and easy activities 🙂

LIGHT THE WORLD

Lighting the world with our cousins

We try to do a ‘Light the World’ act of service or love each day in December and can find the calendar for these activities online HERE.

CHRISTMAS CAROLLING

We love to sing to our neighbors, the old folks homes, and the people at the hospital. Often I give the kids electric candles and we bring them while singing. It makes it feel special. 

CHRISTMAS EVE

Acting out the nativity with our friends in Vanuatu

ACTING OUT THE NATIVITY: Christmas Eve is a special night for us no matter where we are in the world. My favorite family tradition of Christmas has got to be acting out the nativity play on Christmas Eve.

We Buy a pre-recorded version of the Nativity play HERE and the kids all dress up.

It’s normally $9.99 but there is always a sale in December for $4.99

It’s usually noisy, and fun, and instantly reminds us what all this fuss is really about. It’s also something that I video tape and which gives us lasting memories 🙂

GRATITUDE CEREMONY: If we are alone, we go around in a circle, each of us holding an unlit candle. We take turns saying something that we are grateful for and as we do we light our candles one by one.

Doing our gratitude ceremony

SINGING: We make sure everyone has had something to eat and then we bundle up warm and go out singing to people. We sing to our neighbors, friends stuck at home, people we miss at church, people we love, people who are in hospital and anyone that comes to mind! It’s one of our favorite things to do, and we never put a time limit on our activity. As long as the kids are still having fun we keep going.

Singing to people we love


FEASTING: Finally it’s time to go home. We either go home and have a huge feast of yummy food that I’ve prepared before hand or we go to a friend or family members house and feast with them.

Feasting

HANG OUR STOCKINGS: Lastly, right before bed we hang our stockings.

CHRISTMAS DAY

When we lived on the other side of the world, and the only Christmas tree we could buy, cost us a fortune and the only thing we had to decorate it with was some tropical flowers 🙂

After celebrating Christ every day in December, I am always the most excited about Christmas Day.

By now our family has immersed ourselves in trying to think about, become like, and follow Jesus Christ and this is the day where you really feel HIS spirit in your homes and hearts.

STOCKINGS: Christmas Day the kids wake up and we open the stockings together. Since this is the only present they will open we like to all be there. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS: After stockings we invite a family over to celebrate Jesus’s Birthday Breakfast. We have a fancy cake with birthday candles in it and Eric makes us a delicious feast that we eat together after singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. 

WARTIME: After the breakfast we have a war of some kind (nerf gun war, silly string war, elastic war) This has nothing to do with Jesus, but the kids really like it!

CHRISTMAS SCAVENGER HUNT: Next we go on our Christmas Scavenger hunt- we have a pile of 25 pre-wrapped gifts and we always invite 2 or 3 families to join us. We drive around town doing the acts of service or giving out the gifts that are written on our lists.

Download the FULL printable Christmas Scavenger Hunt lists for Free HERE

Download the FULL printable lists HERE

LUNCH: After the Christmas scavenger hunt we come home for lunch. 

VISITING: After lunch we  bundle up again and go and sing and visit people. Sometimes we start visiting at 12 in the afternoon and don’t come home till 11 at night. There are no schedules or rules, we just know that It’s our time to connect with those that might be lonely or sad, or that we love. 

We skip Christmas dinner, although, many times while we are visiting people they invite us in and we eat with them. This is our favorite part of Christmas. It takes some courage to knock on peoples doors and just visit, but it’s always rewarding. 

Christmas night we come home, our bodies exhausted, but our hearts full. 

I have found that the best way to make Christmas special is by making sure we include good food, good friends, and service into all our activities. 

HOW THE KIDS FEEL

This is what some of our kids have to say about Christmas time in our home. 

For Christmas growing up we would wake up at the crack of dawn to open up our stockings that the Christmas angel would fill up for us then we would have a big breakfast with my 11 cousins. The house was bursting with people, so you can imagine how loud it got! With the smells of breakfast that dad was cooking in the kitchen, and the spirit of Christmas in the air, it was a very festive place.

After we had eaten our breakfast, we’d get all bundled up and go out with this Christmas Scavenger hunt basket full of things that mom had prepared beforehand. We would drive around town giving out hot chocolate and shovel driveways and of course sing to our old friends.

As a kid I used to wish that I could have a normal Christmas where Santa would come and bring us a lots of presents, and all we did was play with our gifts all day.

Now that I’m a bit older, I have learned that the true Christmas spirit is about family and service, and even though we never got worldly gifts we were gifted with the special feeling of having family and being able to serve others. I will always remember Christmas time as a beautiful time in my family

– Lizzie 17 years old

I remember one particular year when I was sitting in circle with the other members of my class. These were boys and girls my age, most of which I still felt uncomfortable around. The teacher asked us to take turns going around and telling what we got for Christmas. I was about 13, and was still in the midst of the great struggle of growing up. The kids started telling the wonderful things they had received. One of the boys announced casually that he had been given a brand new iphone.

I was super jealous, and started feeling self conscious, wondering what I was going to say. When it finally got to be my turn, I shyly admitted that I hadn’t received anything for Christmas. It was so embarrassing. My face went red and I remember this awkward silence that came over the group as they tried to act like that was totally normal. In this moment, I just wished so badly that I could have been like everybody else. But my parents never were, like everybody else!

There were definitely times I wished we could have had presents, mostly that is until we started doing service for Christmas. It meant so much to all of us that we were in a position to do the Christmas scavenger hunt and join with other families in doing service activities for other people. It became a tradition we looked forward to year after year. I wondered at first why my mom would spend money buying gifts and gas cards to give to other people instead of just giving her own kids gifts, but eventually I figured it out.

Something happened when I was busy serving, I was no longer thinking of myself, and the presents were the last thing on my mind because they weren’t what mattered.

The true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with the presents, and I’m although it was difficult to understand when I was younger, I’m so grateful that I’ve had the chance to realize that now.

-Analaea 19 years old

We have been doing this for 15 years, and our kids really love it. Yes they ask why we don’t do Christmas presents, and I always tell them, because Christmas is about Jesus and not us. And they get it, and even the little guys are happy. There is no financial stress around Christmas time, even with our big family, and our entire month is rich with traditions, and fun that the kids look forward to all year.

This is the day, that your heart is filled with gratitude because of the blessings and sacrifices that our Savior made for us. On this day, you know what the true meaning of Christmas really is and why it feels so good to celebrate it simply and beautifully. You don’t miss the tinsel, or the presents, because HIS presence is so strong in your home and it fills you up!

I’d love to know what your favorite Christ-Centered Family Christmas Traditions are, or if you’ve ever tried doing Christmas without presents!

Shattered

The glass windows were frosted over and icicles were starting to form from the roof, scattering light across the room. It wasn’t even December yet and I had no intention of decorating the small trees that sat in front of the fireplace in our living room. In fact I had just woken up from a long nap to see that the entire world was covered with a thick covering of white sparkly snow for the 8th time that season, making it feel like a winter wonderland yet again.

That must have been what they were thinking when they found the box I had tucked away. 

When I got up, and saw how sweetly they were working together and how tenderly they were carrying each ornament, I didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop or put them away. Instead I sat close by, and watched quietly, as they carefully placed each ornament on the tree; My 6 year old son, my 4 year old son and the 6 year old neighbour boy.  These boys had my heart and they knew it!

After a few minutes, just decorating must have got boring, because my oldest son got excited and squealed, ‘look this one’s plastic’, and then attempted to bounce the pretty, thin, glass ball on the ground. 

It shattered on impact before I could even squeal a warning, and the three boys stood silently, their mouths forming o’s as they surveyed the scattered pieces of fragmented glass. Isaiah, the one who had bounced the ornament, bent down and slowly began to pick up the pieces. He brought them to me, reverently presenting them in outstretched hands and trembling lips.

At first I wanted to scold him, getting angry that he had taken the balls out without permission in the first place. Then I was mad at myself for allowing them to do it while I just sat and watched. But something quiet whispered to my heart, and instead of scolding, I asked a question. The three pairs of eyes moved from the sharp, tiny pieces, up to my face as they considered the answer. ‘Can any of us mend this broken ball?’

It was obvious that the hundreds of tiny slivers couldn’t possibly be put back together, Isaiah shook his head sadly, apologising for his mistake, still trying not to cry. But it wasn’t regret that I wanted him to understand just now, it was hope

I reflected on my own life. My hopes and expectations for what I thought it would be like to be a mother and a wife. I clearly remembered how many times I had fallen short despite my best efforts. The times when I had shattered the beautiful gifts that I was sent with, times when I wanted to give up much more desperately than any human but myself knew. Times when I felt cracked.

The marriage I’d experienced for more than 20 years was always rewarding, but never easy. We definitely were not the couple that never fought, or whose passionate love made daily life a constant bliss. Between significant shared mental, & physical challenges, it seemed like few things had turned out the way I had expected in my family.

And then there was parenting… I had always dreamed of being an awesome mom, reading stories to the younger kids around a fireplace, chatting late into the night with the older ones, as they poured out their secret dreams and fears, exposing their hearts with me. All of this in preparation of course, for taking them on grand adventures around the world where we’d feed starving children and sleep on dirt floors and eat nothing but mud cakes and tea for dinner.

As each new child was born, they were welcomed with enthusiastic delight into our growing family. And the plan was working flawlessly. The sleepless nights and poopy diapers had never overwhelmed me much, but when those chubby cheeked angels grew up a little, and the toddler days were behind me, I was surrounded by complications that I never imagine I’d be facing.

Never-ending access to technology, friends, and the distracting messages of the world took its toll on my happy world. Kids became teenagers and it seemed like nothing was the same anymore. Suddenly our united, fun home, seemed to turn upside down as children ventured off on their own long before my mother heart felt ready to let them go. Private struggles with my oldest 2 girls, fought Goliath battles inside my heart, persuading me that I was a monumental failure, and the relationships around became strained and distressing.

I guess no mom likes it when their children leave home, and I was no exception, the only difference was, mine left when they were only 16  & 17. Still far too early to be on their own, in my opinion. 

Ridiculous questions plagued my days and especially my nights:

Had I been too strict, or maybe too lenient? Maybe I never should have given them cell phones, or allowed them access to social media at all. Had I chosen the wrong diet for my kids, maybe it was GMO’s. Was it because my devotionals weren’t interesting enough, or was it because of all those mornings that I missed even teaching devotionals? The vitamins that I bought were probably the wrong kind, or when we visited Drs. They were most likely the wrong Dr’s or they must have prescribed the wrong medicine. It was the underwear, definitely the thong underwear I found secreted away in their drawers that had started it all!

Endless dark thoughts crept in whispering convincing lies and foolishly I believed. 

footsteps in the beach

Days past in darkness and despair, spending hours locked in my room weeping into my pillows, and begging God to take away this pain. When my daughters were doing great in the world, going to school, making friends and working, I was proud, and felt glad they were having this grand adventure without me. But when I heard word that they were alone, or afraid, or cold, or hungry, or hurt, or abandoned, or abused or sick or in bondage, I thought my heart would surely collapse. In fact one day, my heart did give way and I fell in heap onto the floor where I couldn’t breathe. I felt the beats of my heart slowing down and I wondered if this was the moment where I would leave this earth life. In all honesty, I was glad at the possibility of escaping all this pain and finally going home.

But then it came; The vision of all my other kids and my husband, my parents and my sisters and brothers. I knew I wasn’t supposed to leave just yet, and If I did, I would regret it for eternity.

I begged my heart to breathe again, I desperately wheezed in one breath and then another. It felt like my heart was being crushed and my lungs were screaming for air. I knew that I was meant to win this battle. I was going to get up and fight. I suddenly became determined to never allow this darkness to consume me again.

I was going to shine a light on the lies and the whisperings that were holding ME captive. I was going to believe that regardless of all the things I did and didn’t do, that God had chosen me to be this wife, this mother, this sister, this daughter, and somehow with His Grace, I WAS GOING TO BE ENOUGH!

My husband found me a half later on the floor shaking, covered in sweat, my breath finally having returned normally and the crushing pain subsided. He picked me up gently and carried me into the bedroom where we discussed our options. We made a plan together of how we could get through this experience, and how we could be the parents and companions that we both wanted to be.

We had a support network of amazing friends and family members that helped inspire us, and we discovered powerful mentors in the professional world that taught us things in our personal lives that were game changing.

I learned the power of meditation, affirmations, deep breathing, exercise, water, sleep, emotional stress management, and prayer.

Above all else, I learned how to share my burdens with our Savior Jesus Christ.

If you are in this situation, overwhelmed or paralyzed with fear or despair I encourage you to check out
THIS POST about Emotional Stress Management and get help from friends, family or medical doctors.

As the days turned into months and the months into a couple of years, the fears and doubts that had previously seemed to rob me of my happiness at the most inconvenient times, slowly began to transform. My heartaches got tumbled inside and the jagged edges were smoothed into something that didn’t feel quite so painful.

I began to see the transformation of my own children at home and away from home, as they made mistakes, picked themselves up, and tried again. I got visits and small messages from my girls who were away from home, reminding me of how magnificent and strong they were, and how the beautiful gifts that they had possessed since birth had blessed other people. 

It seemed like I could feel the muscles of my heart being torn apart and then fiber by fiber stitched painfully, slowly, back together. I was learning to turn my life over to God, to have faith in His great plan of happiness for my family. My feelings of despair, and discouragement gave way to something unexpected. I was growing a heart that was stronger, happier, and full of the expectation of joy for family and future. 

Here I was two years later, staring down at my son’s outstretched hands, looking at the shattered pieces reflecting the light from outside in a million different directions. There was no way to put all my thoughts into words  that this little boy would understand, but I hoped with a simple explanation he could at least grasp a little of this message. 

Even with our hardest work and most focused attention WE WILL MESS UP! We will be surrounded at some point in our lives by shattered pieces of something that was once beautiful and that we cannot possibly repair alone.

But the splendid & wonderful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that if we let Him, the Great Healer CAN repair our lives and makes us whole again!! 

I am glad that my sons reminded me of this heart saving lesson. I am glad my daughters continue to test me and try me, and even though 5 more glass balls broke before the afternoon was over, I am glad that today I learned about Christmas.

4 Easy Ways to Celebrate the True Meaning of Easter With your Kids!

I love to celebrate Easter! It’s by far my favorite holiday of the year. But sometimes with all the world around us advertising chocolate, candy and bunnies my kids forget why we celebrate Easter.

So every year, I do a few things that keep us focused.

1. Read the Easter story from the scriptures:

The Last Supper 

Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-23

Judas Betrays Jesus

John 18:1-13, Luke 22:1-6, Luke 22:47-54, Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-50

Crucifixion of Jesus

Matthew 27:1-54, Mark 15:1-40, Luke 23:1-48, John 19:1-30

Resurrection of Jesus

Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20

2. Celebrate the Passover

On the Thursday before Good Friday our family gathers together with a few other families and have a passover meal. The meal is rich with symbolism and tells the story of Moses and Elijah and our Savior in a way that the kids can remember.

Here is a movie of this years passover meal:

3. Good Friday

Every Good Friday I wake up before the kids and take garbage bags to all the windows. I cover them and pull all the curtains and blinds. When the kids wake up the house is dark. Whenever we have guests and they ask ‘why are your windows dark?’ all my kids answer, ‘because without Jesus there is no light’. This easy and simple illustration costs no money, takes very little time, yet teaches a profound lesson. We leave our windows blacked out, even throughout the day until Easter Sunday.

4. Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is our favorite day! When Easter Sunday arrives I take off the blinds and turn back on the lights. It reminds us that with Jesus there is light!

The kids wake up to the the bright, beautiful sunshine. The table is set with our best dishes and pictures of Jesus displayed around the home. We usually have a basket or gift for each child. I like to include a book about Jesus, and a few eggs filled with treats for them to eat. I always leave one egg empty to remind them that on Easter Sunday the tomb was empty because He Has Risen!

Thats it, I’d love to hear what your favorite traditions for celebrating the true meaning of Easter are! XOXO
Becky Boo

Creating Family Traditions That Will Last

As the mom of 7 kids I’ve learned that one of the best ways to keep your kids connected is through family traditions.

When creating family traditions I always try to do the following:

Make it Easy

There is nothing worse that thinking up a tradition that takes all day and night to prepare for and that you can’t recreate the next year. I’ve learned, just keep it simple! I remember one Jewish holiday that My sister persuaded me to celebrate. It involved making an elaborate feast and then waiting until midnight. At midnight you hiked around your property three times and then honked your horn (symbolizing something important, I’m sure). Afterwards you came inside and ate the feast. The problem we ran into was that nobody wanted to eat at midnight. So they all just sat there sleepily at the feast table looking like I was torturing them. That was definitely a tradition we didn’t keep around!

Create Them Around Holidays

Many of our favorite traditions are created around holidays such as Christmas time, Easter & Valentines day. The reason I do this is because no matter what I know that my kids will never let me forget a holiday, so in a way it forces me to do the extra work required to create a memory that will last forever.

Adopt Traditions From Other Cultures or Religions

If you can’t think of your own family traditions, don’t be afraid to celebrate someone else’s! This is a list of some of my favorite traditions and how we celebrate them:

  • Easter- My favorite Holiday ever is celebrated by putting up an Easter Tree, Planting an Easter Garden, Darkening the Windows on Good Friday, Passover Meal, And doing Easter devotionals the week leading up to Easter
  • St. Patricks Day- The kids make leprechaun traps. But they rarely catch the leprechaun, instead he comes through the house and does silly things like put chairs on top of the table, or dyes the milk green. Of course he also leaves some treats for the kids in the traps.
  • Valentines Day- When my kids wake up there is always curly ribbons hanging from the ceiling with a sweet little basket for each child and love notes from dad and I that are in their basket.
  • Summertime- Summer Dances
  • First Snowfall of winter- We ALWAYS make snow candy with caramel poured into the snow and cancel all school plans so the kids can play all day in the snow
  • Shavuot- Jewish Holiday where you stay up all night and eat cheesecake and read scriptures
  • Ukrainian Christmas- This holiday is celebrated by making perogies together and eating a feast
  • Saint Nicholas Day– German Holiday on December 6 where all the children put out their boots and St. Nicholas comes and fills up their boots with candy and nuts
  • Christmas Eve- I could write a whole post about this
  • Christmas Day- We have a service scavenger hunt where we do acts of service for people around town. My kids love it. We also have a feast, make a birthday cake for Jesus, and have a silly string war.
  • New Years Eve– Have a big party
  • New Years Day– we make a list of everything all of us have learned all that year, or any new experience that we had. We keep these for our family journal and read them throughout the years. This has proved to be a priceless keepsake!
  • The Day we Moved onto our Land– we always celebrate this with a neighborhood softball game
  • Cold Days- For us cold days means that we have to make cinnamon buns. In the case of this picture we were living on a tropical island and there were no cold days, so excuse the anomaly!
  • Sunday Singing- Many, many sundays our family goes to old folks homes and sing to them. We also sing to our neighbors or to people who are sick or sad in our community.
  • Sunflower Sunday- Once a year the fields surrounding our house bust into vibrant colors of yellow, orange and green. We call it ‘Sunflower Sunday’ This magnificent display lasts for only a few days. The whole neighbourhood gets together and here’s what happens!
  • Apple Cider Party– More about this later
  • Thanksgiving- Big feast with friends and family

Learn the Meaning Behind the Traditions

One of my favorite things to do is to teach my kids what meaning each tradition has. This gives them a greater depth of understanding for other cultures and religions. This is one of the best ways to learn about other people!

Create Traditions Around Your Family History or Family Stories

One of the BEST ways to bind children together and to their past is through sharing stories and traditions that are past down from their ancestors. Is it making bread from yeast you caught yourself, or making soap once a year? Whatever it is as you celebrate that day, be sure to share lots of stories to help make it more meaningful.

Don’t be Afraid to Get Rid of Traditions that aren’t working for your family

I often try something and then get rid of it because it didn’t have the intended effect. Plus as your family grows your traditions will also need to grow!

Create Traditions That Include Other People

Every summertime we invite 100’s of people over to join us for outdoor family dances. It has created so many precious memories for my kids.

Every October, our neighbor has the neighborhood over for a fireroast and chili in the snow.

Every Christmas another neighbor invites everyone over for a star gazing and hot chocolate party

Every Boxing day a close family friend books the local church gym and invites everyone she knows for a potluck and party

Every Fall my brother gets out his apple press and all of our families and friends go to his house where we make freshly pressed apple juice and have a potluck dinner together.

Okay…so just to remind you!

So…what are YOUR favorite family traditions that will last? Leave us a comment

xoxo
BeckyBoo

P.S. Here is a video of one of my favorite family traditions.