Friday, January 02, 2009

The importance of traditions

We have many traditions in our family. Typically they revolve around birthdays or holidays. It has been funny to see Jack, Jaiden and Justine attempting to "prepare" Josh and Jameson for what traditions they will experience during the Holidays. Some of our traditions are self-serving. On Christmas Eve, everyone gets one gift... and it's always pajamas... so that you look good for Christmas morning pictures. Other traditions are absurd and probably seen as politically incorrect for a Christian family with small children... but Jeff, Jordan and I always watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while the kids play and run around after opening gifts. I know... not a great movie for kids, but we seriously would feel like something was missing if we didn't watch it. Many of our traditions are to help the kids find the true meaning of Christmas. We always donate a gift and clothing for a family in need. We have a birthday cake for Jesus and read the Christmas Story. Some traditions have never taken off... like that beautiful birthday plate I bought for everyone to eat their special birthday meal off of. I always remember it about a week after their birthdays! But I will keep trying to get that one started.

Traditions are so important, no matter what they are, because they promote stability within your family. The kids look forward to the traditions. They can predict them. They know that when the traditions are in place, everything is going well.

Traditions also promote an identity within your family. We are the Ellerbee's and this is what we do. However messed up it may seem to everyone else, we know that these are our traditions.

Our traditions have been handed down from generation to generation. On Christmas Eve, one of my parents would always fake an illness and have to stay home, while everyone else would go and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Low and behold when we got home, Santa would have been there! While we don't do things exactly this way, we always make a trip out to look at Christmas lights. Jeff's family always has the same food for Christmas eve. It's expected to have lasagna and pigs in a blanket. (Weird, I know, but it's tradition!)

Our traditions just kind of happened without us planning and predicting what kind of tradition we wanted. Perhaps that's why the plate thing never took off. I planned it to be a tradition. I put too much effort into it.

I look forward to what new and crazy family traditions we will begin in the years to come!


Laurel said...

We have the same birthday plate ... and it's been sitting in the cupboard for years. I think we've used it once or twice. Too funny!


Jeanie said...

Our Christmas tradition: waiting for Kurt to fall through the ceiling from the attic above while he puts up the decorations. Our family will never be 'normal...' we almost oppose the word!!! And I love yours just as much for not being so 'normal.'

SisterMom said...

I am fanatical about traditions, I almost bitch slapped Jackson when he ran to his stocking on Christmas morning. I screamed, "Its a tradition to wait for everyone!!!" Poor kids....

Peculiar Smith Family said...

Happy New Year! I love reading about your family.

Julia & Brad said...

We too do the new jammies on Christmas Eva and we have to watch Christmas Vacation! LOL