a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Family's Simple End of Year Traditions

I have mentioned family traditions in several recent posts.

Traditions can revolve around many occasions or maybe even non-official occasions, but Christmas and New Years really lend themselves to their creation.

My growing-up family had three. Even thought they were never discussed or even mentioned as tradition  they were a regular part of our Christmas and their impact has stayed with me all these many years.

Memories are priceless

Today, as I write them, I have realized for the first time that they all revolved around my dad.

1. He made egg nog from scratch.  It was really, really rich---and I have never been able to duplicate it.

2.He had the ornament from his first Christmas --- a tiny glass bugle (he was born on an Army post) and he was the one that hung it on the tree each year, even when it became tattered and battered and even taped. After his death, by a drunk driver, when he was 81 years old my mother sent it to me --- a most prized possession --- and now our family insists I am the only one to hang it.

3. He passed out our presents, one at a time, as we sat around the tree Christmas morning ---- each one watching one another as they opened their gifts.

Most traditions don't start out as such. . .

Measuring Up

From the time each child could stand up we measured their height on January 1st.  Years later we started adding our grandchildren's. We marked their names and the year directly on the wall. When we moved we carefully transferred the information to a long sheet of paper, and painted the wall. At our new home we would tape the paper to the wall, and with the help of a ruler, rewrite the measurments.

If you rent, move often, or if writing on the wall is not your style, you could make a hanging growth chart. A heavy non-woven fabric interfacing (like Pellon) is durable and you can write on it. 

Years ago, after our kids had started having theirs,  I came across fabric printed as a colorful grow chart. I bought the material, narrowly hemmed the bottom, and made a deeper hem in the top  (enough so a curtain rod or length of dowel would slide through it for hanging).

I made one for each of their families----transferring the information from our wall to their wall hanging. Their children really liked to see how they measured up to their parents.

Loading Up . . .

on the snacks and goodies! I didn't cook on New Year's Day but we sure never went hungry. I squirreled away many of the candies and food gift-packs we receive as gifts during the season and prepared everything else beforehand. 

Usually the week between December 25 and January 1 is pretty slow, at least in comparison to the previous week, so this was easy to do. I didn't worry about the nutritional balance of the menu. I put all the food out on the table early in the afternoon, along with paper plates and cups. From there, it was up to them. They ate whenever hungry, although graze was probably a more accurate term---during half times or time outs of the televised football games. 

But, for them, no matter how good the food or how exciting the various bowl games, the highlight of the day was something --- you probably won't want to do at home --- I had to include here.

Teaming Up. . .

for their own football game.

A page from my 1996 bookette "Help! for the Overworked Mom"

Young Families:  I am sure there are many things that you do in your own family that will become traditions and treasured memories as the years go by.  And trust me, the time goes by faster than you can imagine. 

No comments: