“For some reason this year I’ve seen a lot of posts, comments, and articles stating that us moms ‘shouldn’t feel pressured to do Holiday related things.’ People are praising that angle of approach. People think it’s relatable. And to be honest, I understand. I have six kids, with the oldest being 7 and the youngest being 6 months. Holiday things are not easy to pull off. Some of them are more work than they are fun for me. Some of them I dread even though my kids beg to do them.
But to have this attitude that holiday traditions aren’t important? That it’s not worth it to take the time to let our kids experience them? That we’ve become too complacent to even give our kids some creativity? I call bull crap on that.
Keep your family traditions alive!
‘We didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch this year. We’re just going to skip the whole pumpkin thing even though mine really want to carve some!’ Sister, grab a pumpkin at the grocery store. A pumpkin is a pumpkin.
‘I really hate carving pumpkins and oh well, sorry kids, you’re not allowed to do it!’ Why not let your kids paint them, then? Let them draw faces on them with markers. Or just let them go for the gooey mess because this literally only happens once a year.
‘It’s dark outside in unfamiliar neighborhoods so we’re going to skip out on trick-or-treating this year.’ WHAT? There’s tons of malls, trunk or treat events that happen before dark, and even local retirement homes that are passing out candy in safer environments.
‘Thanksgiving crafts? Psh! Nobody has time for that mess!’ Hobby Lobby has a million peel and stick, fool-proof options that involve zero glue. Or better yet, just let them trace your hand to make a turkey out of it. Let them trace everyone’s hands and see how creative and different they can make each one.
‘My child will probably throw a fit if I make them sit with Santa!’ Take them anyway to see him from afar. Stand back and just let them wave to him. You don’t have to force it. Just introduce it.
‘My grandma’s Jell-O recipe freaks me out! I can’t make it as good as her. It’s not even worth attempting!’ Spend the next five Christmases just giving it a shot. Eventually you’ll nail it. She wasn’t perfect at first either. Her first attempts were probably just as bad. Laugh with your kids while you all try! It’s a great learning experience for all of you.
‘Making Christmas cookies from scratch? Are you crazy!? That would make the biggest mess! I don’t want to find flour and sugar on the floor for the next two months!’ Then buy the Pillsbury ones with the green Christmas trees in the middle. Let your kids peel them off of the packaging and put them on a cookie sheet that you pop into the oven. It at least gives them the same ambiance of the experience. A cookie is a cookie.
‘There’s no way I’m letting my kids stay up late to watch the ball drop in New York on New Year’s!’ Does anyone really enjoy that anyways? YouTube last year’s ball dropping and pretend it’s happening in real time. Grab some pots and pans and let them bang on them to ‘ring in the new year’ at 8 p.m.. Until they’re old enough to tell time, they’ll never know. They still get the excitement of it!
Maybe these traditions seem mundane to you. Maybe you feel like you can’t get to them this year. Maybe it seems like ‘work’ and ‘why should we even bother.’ But it’s important to your kids. It means more to them than you may know. Instilling family time with your kids is what life is all about, right? Making memories is what childhood is about. Participating in family traditions is what kids enjoy the most. How else will they be carried on if we don’t see them through?
You don’t have to be extravagant and a ‘Pinterest mom.’ You just have to show up and try. You don’t even have to do every single one every year. But pick a few and stick with them.
Our parents didn’t do fancy things. They didn’t spend thousands of dollars on decorations or the best organic cookie ingredients. They didn’t buy all of these ‘extra’ pumpkin carving tools or make extravagant recipes. They didn’t make 5-star worthy treats or even bother trying to take fancy photos. They didn’t try to ‘out do’ one another. It wasn’t a competition on who had the best ideas.
They made the effort. They showed up. If you can’t make the effort, ask a friend’s family to let them participate with theirs. Or even offer their kids to tag along with you. It takes a village.
I remember cutting down a Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving at the tree farm. I remember setting it up in our home and decorating it with my siblings. I remember making Christmas cookies from scratch, including the frosting. I remember making cinnamon rolls from scratch and ribbon Jell-O. I remember going to the mall to see Santa. I remember spending all day during Thanksgiving and Christmas with both sides of my family. I remember my cousins and I sipping sparkling grape juice, pretending it was the real thing.
I remember my parents taking the time to give us more than just ordinary memories. I remember my parents spending those special times with us and being present while they did. I remember them trying to give us fun even if it maybe wasn’t fun to them.
We don’t have to make Holidays seem so daunting. They don’t have to be so much work! They can be so simple and still be so fun to the kids. These types of things are literally something we do once a year. If I had to carve pumpkins more than once a year, I wouldn’t be thrilled. But my kids love and adore that gross activity. As they should! Kids love making messes. It’s a pain to clean up. But I also know that one day I will seriously miss that messy table my kids stood around making awesome memories. I will seriously miss the smell of Christmas cookies covered in my kids’ love. I will miss hearing those annoying confetti popping things going off as the ball drops on New Year’s. I will miss my kids’ smiles and laughter while we do these traditions. ‘They’re only young once!’ …and it’s true you guys. It’s so true.
I feel like if I didn’t carry on these traditions, I’m only showing a disservice to my own parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The generations of my family before us participated in these things. Why would I not continue them? Why would I not show appreciation for the hard work they once put in, too? It doesn’t seem right or fair to me.
When did we become the generation of parents that doesn’t even want to try? When did we become the generation of parents that is afraid of a little bit of creativity? When did we become the generation of parents that can’t improvise a little bit?
Don’t sit all of the traditions out. Don’t sit them out because ‘it’s just another mess you have to clean up.’ Or because ‘they won’t remember it anyways.’ All of these experiences they encounter at young ages sticks with them somewhere in their memory. Spending special time with their parents, doing events or things they only get to do once a year is a lot of fun for them.
I guess I just don’t realize when carrying on family traditions became such a taboo or un-cool topic? These are supposed to be fun! They’re supposed to be the best times we have as parents. This is what we will look back on and be so grateful we participated in. This is what parenthood and childhood is all about.
Keep the family traditions alive.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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