I wrote here about creating traditions for your life and your family. I explain some of the benefits of traditions and gave some ideas, examples and links to get you thinking. There was one tradition though that I thought deserved a little more attention (and even honor) and since I am not writing a book, or even a chapter for a book, thought it would be better served in a separate post.
For Christmas, my wonderful mom started a tradition that impacted my life and the lives of my classmates. She put on a “Christmas Craft Creation Time” (catchy, huh?). All the girls in my class were invited and we had probably at least 5 different craft options all set up and ready to go. There were new craft ideas each year, and some standard repeats (i.e. salt dough ornaments). All of this was WAY before Pinterest… before the internet, even. Imagine how much work it was for my mom—creating the ideas, getting all the supplies, setting it all up, cooking the food, creating invitations—again, pre-internet, pre-evite—and the clean up!!! It was a lot, but she would tell you it was all worth it.
For lunch we had a simple homemade chicken soup and cornbread (which we made the mistake of changing one year—apparently the soup was part of the tradition, too, and not to be messed with!) We listened to Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas album, and Michael W. Smith’s Christmas, every year—they’re classics, and it was tradition! And we always had someone share a gospel message of some sort at lunch. Most notably, when we were in middle school, a wonderful, godly, high-school girl, Amy Shaw, whom we all knew and loved (her brother was in our class) came and spoke.
It was a huge production and fairly costly, no doubt. BUT – don’t be overwhelmed by the idea; it could easily be modified. Crafts and the number of them could be simplified (salt dough ornaments aren’t that expensive to make and they don’t require much in the way of supplies!). There could be a small charge to off-set some of the costs, etc.
Yes, it was work, but let me tell you – it was such a big deal that my classmates were pleading with us to continue the tradition after we graduated…and we did keep it going into college for a little while. Since then, some 25-30 years later, my mother and I still hear from my classmates from time to time telling us how it ministered to them. One girl shared that her family had no money (I had no idea!) and she was able to make all her Christmas gifts for people at our house each year, without which she’d have had nothing to give. Some have told us it was their favorite Christmas tradition (which surprises me to hear that it trumped their own family Christmas traditions…but maybe some of those other families didn’t really have any special traditions). It was a fun tradition for me and my mom, to be sure, but I had no idea just how meaningful it was to the girls who were included in our fun. But that’s how traditions are, their impact is greater than you know, especially when you share them with others.
(I wish I could share some pics with you! Unfortunately, all my pictures are boxed up and in storage for the moment. 😦 )