As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{31 Days to Make a House a Home} Day 26 ~ Holiday Traditions

I have chatted with you about traditions, and why I feel that traditions are important.  I have shared some of our mealtime traditions.  And today, I will tell you about some of our holiday traditions

A Month of Thankfulness
Thanksgiving is more than one day at our house.  We read Thanksgiving books.  (Read ~here~ for some of my recommendations.)  We sing Thanksgiving hymns, all month long, choosing one to sing together around our Thanksgiving table before the blessing and the feast.  (Click ~here~ to read about a beautiful collection of Thanksgiving music.) 

One of our most blessed holiday traditions is our Thankful Tree.  All through the month, we write our thanks on cut-out leaves.  We mail leaves to Ryan's family so that they are represented on our tree.  Any guests who visit during the month are invited to add their blessings.  And we add a few more on Thanksgiving Day, as each person is given a leaf  as they arrive.  (Click ~here~ to read details about our Thankful Tree.)

Christmas Movies

We watch lots of Christmas movies!  Most of the time, I am wrapping gifts or making to-do lists while watching, but we try to fit in as many as possible during the short season.  And there are a few that have a very definite date or occasion on which they must be viewed.  Why? It's a tradition! (You do it once, and then the next year, and then it is set. in. stone.)

A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott) must be seen on Black Friday and must be accompanied by Thanksgiving leftovers.  When we write out Christmas cards, we must watch Eloise at Christmastime which we recorded from television onto a VHS tape.  If we are not finished with the cards (we rarely are), we watch Eloise at the Plaza, which isn't even a Christmas movie, but it's tradition nonetheless.  The Homecoming is reserved for Christmas Eve, with the exception of one Christmas Eve when our VHS tape broke (nightmare!), but now we have the DVD and all is well.  
(I must add that we have lots of favorite Christmas books, too!  I gather them from all of the bookshelves, and we read through at least one chapter book, and numerous shorter "picture books" during the season.)

Annual Christmas Ornaments
When the older children were small, we began giving them a special Christmas ornament each year.  We tried to find one that was either indicative of their personality or their interests, or that represented a significant event in their lives that year.   We continued this tradition...and so now we give ornaments to each of our four children, our son-in-law and our daughter-in-law, and our eight grandchildren.  Yes, that is a lot of ornaments, and some years I am tempted to discontinue this tradition, but then I find the perfect one for Ryan or for Owen or for Eve, and my enthusiasm returns with gusto.   
As part of the tradition, we give these out on Christmas Tree Night (after we eat our subsanother part of the tradition), and it is thrilling to this Gran and Papa to watch the eager faces as they open their treasures one by one.    
(To read more about our tradition, and to see some pictures of the special ornaments, click ~here~.)
First-Day-of-Spring Baskets
We used to do Easter baskets, but several years ago we changed plans. Resurrection Day is such a glorious beautiful day of rejoicing, that it almost seemed to trivialize the significance of the holiday to make a big deal out of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks. But chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks are such fun, and my children had always received such Ron and I decided that, as the first day of spring is exciting and something to celebrate, and bunnies and chicks and flowers certainly represent the spring of the year, we would begin the tradition of the Spring Basket.

It is great fun to squirrel away (rabbit away?) little treats to fill the baskets!  Candy, yes...but also pajamas with a bunnies-having-a-tea-party design, recipe cards, cute socks, garden seed packets, pencils, boxes of tea, nail polish. 

::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  :: 

These are some traditions that are meaningful to our family.  I am sure that yours are different from ours.  The important thing is that each family takes the time and the care to create traditions that are meaningful to you!  These are strong family memories that will make your house a home. 

There is also nothing wrong with changing a tradition, or adding a new one.  After all, families are not static.  Our own has gone through many changes—the addition of more children, children growing up and leaving the nest, the addition of grandchildren, the relocation of our son and his family (across many miles), to name a few.  We must adapt our traditions with the changes in family dynamics. 


  1. Our traditions are to put up our tree on Black Friday and we always watch The Nativity Story on Christmas Eve...I am sure there are other traditions but I am sleepy and can't think of them!


  2. Okay, I've got to brew some tea. This is getting into some serious reading now. I think Deanna was right. You should consider a E-book. Really.

  3. Good morning! Your daughter, Kati, just shared this link with me to show me your sweet Thanksgiving tree :) I have been following dear Kati's blog for a while and thoroughly enjoy her posts. I am so glad she brought me here and I am now happily following you as well. I look forward to visiting again.



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