Advent and Christmas are the perfect time to start, or continue, traditions in the family that you feel are important. With two little ones, I have found that making traditions is a bit of a challenge, mostly because when I want to start a tradition, I often don’t discuss it with my husband, who is the often logical part of our relationship. Last year I insisted that we take our almost 2 year old and new 3 month old baby to see Christmas lights. They screamed the whole time. They did not care about the music in the car that coincided with the lights in the neighborhood. They hated being in the car, driving slowly for over an hour. I was so frustrated because I NEEDED to have traditions and my children were not cooperating. Sound familiar?
I think my attachment to traditions exists because we did not have any growing up. Some years we would be with extended family, some years we would be alone, just us. Some years my mom would cook a big dinner, and some years it was simple. I don’t even remember if we opened gifts on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. I do remember feeling love every Christmas, so I totally recognize that it is not all about traditions, HOWEVER, I do think they are very important. I want to make beautiful memories for my children. I want to have a home where we live liturgically. But how do I do that when all my ideas end up being total failures, or cause for stress?
So this year my husband brilliantly sat down with me and we talked about what things we would do for the season. We went on a lovely Christmas themed trip with my brother and sister in law and their lovely babies. We light the advent wreath every night at dinner. We have our nativity sets up around the house, including a Little People one that the boys can play with, and we made gingerbread houses with families we treasure. And this year, we DID get to take the boys to see lights and they LOVED IT!
We are committed to taking it slow. Celebrating this time with little children can be fun, but if we try to create the perfect Christmas with toddlers who stick E V E R Y T H I N G in their mouths, we are going to end up stressed and annoyed. So I propose this, TAKE IT SLOW. This has been the greatest thing I have learned so far about implementing any family traditions in our small, and growing, family. Our boys are 15 months and alllllmost 3 years old. We need to consider their ages and stages in life when making these traditions. Do I want to make cookies with my boys? Yes! But they want to eat all the ingredients, INCLUDING some of the paper and plastic in which those ingredients are stored. My almost 3 year old is a pretty good helper, but I definitely have to watch that he doesn’t just eat fistfuls of sugar. So, I have had to learn to pace myself. We are not taking any trips this Christmas or travelling at all. We are going to enjoy a quiet family Christmas, just the 4 of us, and I am so excited about it! Taking it slow has been amazing for us. I encourage you to consider doing the same. There will be time for singing carols as a family around the piano, but maybe for now just let your little ones bang on the keys while you sip your hot chocolate.
Mothers of older kids, 6-7-8 years old, what are some traditions that you have in your families? M How did those grow as your children grew? Mothers of little ones like me, what are some small things you have done in your home to help teach your children about Advent and Christmas?
Copyright 2018 Diana Resendiz. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: 2018 Karen Padilla. All Right Reserved.