Monday, January 02, 2017

"Tra-diiiiiiiiition!"

Howdy! I'm glad you're here.  
This post probably contains run-on sentences, sentence fragments, 
affiliate links, and unnecessary ellipses.  If none of that bothers you, let's be friends.

Interview question seven:

"How do Christmas festivities now, with seven kids, compare to those you had when you just had a few littles? Any ideas or advice for parents who haven't set their traditions in stone?"

I think the most important part of this is the second question so let's talk about that first.

The best piece of advice I can offer is to never treat your traditions as if they are set in stone.  As your family changes, what's best for your family may change.  Keeping in mind that traditions serve the purpose of uniting a family and are not a purpose unto themselves is so valuable, especially if you have the personality type that exalts in predictability and routine.  If "what we always do" is causing unnecessary strife, division, or frustration (eg: Me during tree decorating, freaking out that people aren't putting ornaments in the right place or the colors aren't being properly spread apart and just generally being miserable and taking everyone with me) it's okay to rethink that tradition (eg Now twitchy mama does not participate in tree decorating [not in a passive-agressive bratty way, most importantly!] but rather lets dad and the kids do it while she works on some other fun thing of her own choosing and then they surprise her and she always loves it and everyone is happy).

Being flexible about traditions has allowed ours to grow and improve over time as our family has grown and as our kids have gotten older.  The biggest thing is that we simply have MORE things we like to do because we have more people and each person tends to really love a different aspect of our celebrations.  Some people love the Christmas movies leading up to Christmas, somebody loves baking cookies and giving them away to our delivery drivers on Christmas Adam (the day before Christmas Eve, natch), some live for lighting the candles on the advent wreath every night.  We've got the opening and hanging of the Christmas cards that arrive in the mail each day, we've got putting out the nativity sets, we're decorating the mantel, we're hanging the wreaths on the doors, and not everyone is all lined up for each of these things.  There's sort of an organic dividing of the troops based on what they love and remember the most, and I'm fine with that.

Obviously there are going to be things you all do together, but that's going to look different for each family.  We always eat our dinners together, we go to Mass together, and we open our gifts together- those are sort of our Christmas non-negotiables because we feel that those are the most crucial traditions in keeping our family united.  Maybe those things will change someday.  I have to be remain open. Outside of those, though, the best thing we can do is to allow all the various and sundry sweet elements to add to and increase our celebrations while being mindful of, and avoiding, the temptation to put nostalgia before relationships.

 
Posting for the 12 days of Christmas...
12 in 2016 (a photo year in review)
Stuff That Makes My Life Better
Where did all these children come from?!?!
Homeschooling High School
I Dream of Houses
Dollah Dolla Billz
Wood Shed, Wood Box, Wood Stove: heating with wood in Michigan


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8 comments :

  1. That's a great point about how families will have a natural diversity of taste and talent. I feel like that leaves room for people whose talents might not be so ordinary to still feel like they have special contributions to make. Lego Nativity scene? Awesome! Martha Stewart-level cookie baking? Great! -FarmAndAway

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  2. Somehow I just figured out the Fiddler on the Roof reference, lol. :D

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  3. Can I just say, I am loving this! I love your down to earth realistic attitude, I love the depth and humour all together, I love that there is a blogger I love when I check blog login every day and the q and a style is great!! Can I just send all my favourite bloggers lists of questions because dat wud be great

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    1. Oh I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying it! That voice of doubt always creeps in...."no one caaaaaaares, dweeeeeej", so it's nice to know I'm not boring you to tears. And YES, plz to be sending me questions. This is the best!!!

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  4. I love this! I really like how you mentioning traditions just growing organically and letting different people take charge of what they like best. The photos are pretty great, too. I often tell people that our biggest Christmas tradition is flexibility, because life circumstances will change, both of our families live out of state, and I always hate feeling like I'm "forced" into things (it's my stubborn independent streak).

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  5. Loving that you are back to blogging - it's like a little present in my FB feed every day!! And this totally hits home. The best "tradition" I ever created for my family was to LET GO of things at Christmas. Big dinner on Christmas Eve too much? Christmas taco night it is. Can't get the entire house decorated? No one cares as long as the stocking, the nativity, and the countdown Santa are out. You get the picture. Every Christmas we have certain things that stay the same - the most important things, as you said. But the rest? In the end, it doesn't matter!

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  6. When our 2nd child was born on December 2nd, we decided that we were done traveling back to visit our parents and that it would "just be us". Well, that "just us" has turned into 9 kiddos so it's a pretty full house. Because it's just us, we do what we want to do. We have home made pizza and malts for Christmas Eve dinner. Easy and a kid favorite - win/win, right!?! You are so right that you need to just let go and let it all happen. Have a plan, but allow yourself to go with the flow or you'll go crazy!

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  7. I care, Dweej! I love your table setting. I don't see placemats or a tablecloth but it's beautiful just the same, I love it. Maybe I'm too anal about having everything just right. Pretty plates, glasses and flatware plus a candle or two sounds wonderfully simple and elegant. I'm going to rethink my holiday table setting. :)

    On another note, Christmas Adam. I die.

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