family traditions.

In the midst of raising my own kids I often reflect back on my own childhood. I remember the things that got me most excited and the values my parents instilled into my sisters and me.  Family traditions were one of those things I always looked forward to. I appreciated how much effort my mom put into making sure we felt special and loved and so did those around us. My home growing up was always an open door policy one where many of our family, friends, and neighbors would often congregate too. My mom always had PLENTY of food and drink to go around and I loved being able to spend time with so many great people as a child. 

These little acts is what shaped my sisters and I into the people we are today. Our love for food, hospitality, and people is a result of the environment our mom created in our own home. With my love for traditions and people I have been thinking of ways I can foster those same ideas into my little family. I want to keep some of the same traditions both Nick and I grew up with and also add some new ones. When coming up with this list I wanted to make sure that we had meaning behind each one and also that many of the traditions would teach my boys to have a attitude of giving and love. In this day in age it is so easy for kids to think the world revolves around them because they so easily do. I want them to know that it is just as fun to give as it is to receive. Hope to continue to find new traditions as the months go by and am interested to see what traditions your families implement so we can add them to our family list. 

Thankful pumpkin/jar- Thanksgiving day write with a sharpie on a big pumpkin what you are thankful for. It can be both serious and funny things.

Thanksgiving cookies to city workers- Making cookies for the men and women who serve our neighborhood (police, paramedics, fire fighters). Look for local Stations and call and see when you can drop off some thankful cookies. 

Men do dishes on Thanksgiving- No brainer! I saw this online and thought since I have a husband and two boys this would be a great tradition to start since the women in our family traditionally cook and bake all the food. 

Christmas pajamas on Xmas Eve- My mom always did this for us and I want to continue it with the boys. I prefer for them not to look like Christmas pajamas so we can wear them throughout the year. 

24 nights of Christmas Hymns- We might not have the best voices but we love to sing praise to our King. This is a great way to keep Christ the center of the season.

Christmas Eve gift- My husbands family, the Davis side, has a tradition where on Christmas Eve they call/text each other saying "Christmas Eve gift". The idea is to try to send and tell people it before they get you. It is so fun getting calls and texts from everyone.

St. Nicholas shoe fill- On the eve of December 5th put puts/shoes outside and wait for the patron St. Nick to fill your shoes with candy if you were a 'good' boy or girl. Since my husband is part German and his name is Nicholas I thought this could be so fun to do with our family.

Xmas Cookies- My mom goes overboard with this and makes THE best cookies. We usually make over 10-15 different kinds and make cookie trays for family and friends. 

Stockings filled with prayers for following year- My friend told me about this tradition and I loved it so much we plan on doing it this year. When you pack your Christmas decor you write your goals, prayers, or words for thought on paper and stuff it inside your stocking. The following year when you break out the Christmas decorations again you have something to read from the year prior.

RAK for birthdays- I love the idea of committing random acts of kindness on your birthday and in honor of someones birthday. We started this this year with Calvin's bday and hope to continue it with each of our birthdays throughout the year. 

Rent hotel for family on New Years' Eve-  Saw this on Pinterest and loved it. It's when you get a hotel on New Years' Eve and 

Minivan Express- I read this online and loved the idea. Basically, instead of putting your kids to bed you get them all ready and then hand them a ticket. You tell them you are taking them on a special car ride and inside the car is treats (hot cocoa, popcorn, etc) and you look at Christmas lights in your jammies while driving. Calvin will love this. 

Operation military give- During the holidays I love the idea of giving back to the soldiers families who give so much to keep us safe. I am trying to find a good charity to help us bless those who serve and their children.

Birthday letters- Each year Nick and I alternate taking turns writing a letter to the boys on their birthday. We have a box for each of them where we hold special memorabilia and we will give them the letters on their 18th birthdays. 

Anniversary post cards- Every year on our anniversary Nick and I get a post card from where ever we are and then write our cards to each other on them. It is a great way to remember our special time and a way to make sure we don't forget to write something sweet to one another. 

Birthday Adventure and meal- For everyone in our families birthday they get a whole day of fun. We usually pack the day with adventures that that family member loves to do and see. At the end of the day we eat a great meal with everyone and have their favorite dessert. Mine is always rice krispie treats and a bowl of pomegranate, I'm strange. 

Green food on St. Patty's Day- What better way to eat a whole bunch of yummy pasta and load up on veggies? Also, green beer? No, I think that's gross but maybe a good IPA or some green smoothies.

Fourth of July Party- Nick and I have been hosting a bbq for the Fourth for a few years now. We love having people over and it is always a great excuse to eat bbq and enjoy friends and family.

Oktoberfest Party- we love having people over and this is a great way we can sample seasonal craft beer and enjoy time with friends.

Obviously you don't need to implement these many traditions. Each year you might think of something new or edit ones you currently do with your family. The important thing to remember is that these are to bring families and friends closer together and that is the beauty behind traditions.

What are your favorite family traditions? Do you do certain traditions with your kids that you did as a child? What is your favorite holiday?

Easter 2015- my mom made a HUGE feast. I was in charge of the table and clean up.

Easter 2015- my mom made a HUGE feast. I was in charge of the table and clean up.

My mom and I made traditional Italian Fried Struffuli (Fried honey balls). They are addicting!!!

My mom and I made traditional Italian Fried Struffuli (Fried honey balls). They are addicting!!!

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