This time of year most of us think about our family traditions and look forward to celebrating the holidays together this way.
Our family has a few fun ones that many of you probably do as well… decorating gingerbread houses, creating and delivering neighbor gifts… our Christmas Eve pajama party with minute-to-win-it games… We love these fun traditions that bring us together and create memories that connect us.
We’ll forever laugh about last Christmas Eve, when I mistakenly purchased women’s pajamas for all of the men… and they wore them! SOO funny!
I’m always looking for fun new traditions to add,- but this year perhaps we can all deepen our joy, by incorporating a few that we might not have considered before.
How do you define yourselves as a family?
Have you discussed your core values and determined what it means to be a “Copier.’.. or a “Jones”… or Anderson”,.. or whatever your family name is?
Imagine adding a some intangible traditions… perhaps a tradition of forgiveness.
Consider the long lasting effects of creating that tradition for our family!
Incorporating the truth that, “In our home, we have a tradition of being quick to forgive.” No matter what, we love each other unconditionally. We don’t hold a grudge. We’re not easily offended. We forgive and let go.
This invaluable belief carries over into other relationships… allows for the giving of space and grace to those who don’t believe as we do. And most importantly, it prevents us from carrying toxic baggage that poisons our souls.
This tradition has the potential to help prevent possible family divisions and would keep us connected… come what may.
How about the tradition of giving service? How wonderful to establish this tradition in our homes so that we know that no matter what, we’ve got each other’s backs? “You need help?” I’m there!”… “I need help.. I know I can count on you!”
Not only that, we could also look for ways to serve in our communities and make the world a better place.
I remember as a young girl, my parents taking us to the home of another family who was struggling. They were obviously in dire need of some help and we were able to deliver a huge truckload of Christmas gifts, badly needed groceries and holiday treats, warm clothing and more.
The night made a tremendous impact on me. It birthed within me a great desire to give, to help those in need.
I’m so grateful for my parent’s incredible example and the effect it’s had on my life. In the Reynold’s home, we had a tradition of giving… it felt amazing and I’ve tried to carry that tradition forward in my own home.
One of my most precious Christmas gifts ever, came from our oldest son, Chris. When our kids asked what I wanted for Christmas, I asked them to do an act of service and share the story with me.
Chris was in college at the time and gathered some friends, collected a few donations from local bakeries,cooked a HUGE pot of Clam Chowder, and set up an impromptu soup kitchen on a cold December night downtown.
I still get teary when I think about it. He has a giver’s heart and that means everything to me.
A tradition of service adds meaning to our celebration, as we strive to be more Christlike.
Another incredible tradition to consider adding, is the tradition of Gratitude.One of my most favorite quotes of all time is this one from Melanie Beattie:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into
enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,
confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a
home, a stranger into a friend. . . . Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.“
Read it, and then read it again! Consider how it can be true for you.
When we teach our family the tradition of gratitude, it becomes a daily practice that elevates our spirits, makes us aware of the abundance we have, and makes us feel blessed all through the year, rather than a few days in November at our Thanksgiving feast.
And finally, our son, Casey, came home last night for his Thanksgiving break at college. As I shared these with him, he suggested I should add the tradition of discussion, -meaning that when we have things we don’t agree on, we talk about them instead of bottling them up and letting them fester.
Well, you can only imagine how my communication coach’s heart swelled to hear this! Such wisdom from a 19 yr old. And he’s absolutely right.
When we model with our children that it’s okay to disagree, and still talk to each respectfully… AND still love each other… We give them powerful tools that set them up for success in every other area of their lives.
I’m sure there are several more that we could find together, but I hope this gets the juices flowing gives you some ideas for your own family.
Our family traditions can carry on for generations. It’s worth taking the time to choose them intentionally.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, I’m truly grateful to have so many beautiful humans like you in my circle. I pray you will feel God’s unending love and fully witness the miracles and abundance that surround you.