Amanda writes about her family traditions. Meaning is made with our rituals, rites and tradtions. She shares some great ideas for you to try.
1. As much as I sometimes wish we were the type of family who wakes up early on a Saturday morning and goes hiking up a mountain (there is actually one in our back garden, ahem), we are not. At least not at this point in our (sleep-deprived) lives. We celebrate the weekend mornings by lying in bed, watching movies and eating pancakes.
2. If you’ve been to my house in the last few years, you will know all about my relationship with bunting. There always seems to be a good reason to sew a new one and so I find we now have one for every occasion: Birthdays, Easter, Christmas. There is bunting to celebrate Autumn and one to welcome Spring. There is even pirate bunting that gets used in stringing together forts and dens. I am always slow to take them down (some of them have even become perennial). Perhaps they are my little whimsical reminders that we should celebrate this life, and our journey through it, everyday.
3. Kitchen floor dancing. Every family does it, right? In our family it often happens in the mornings, giving you a chance to shake those sleepies out. Sometimes the music gets turned on when everyone seems to be whining or crying about something or other and as soon as those endorphines start pumping, the troubles and woes are forgotten. Mostly it gets turned on when Thomas or Brad hit ‘Music’ on the iPad and somehow manage to choose the song we never knew we all wanted to hear.
4. Finding ways for our children to connect to Mother Earth in this fast-paced, technology-driven, sitting-indoors-in-front-of-a-screen world we find ourselves in is challenging. By planting a veggie garden we celebrate living in this beautiful country of ours where space and warmth are in abundance and we honour and give thanks to the sun, the soil and the rain that work together to feed and nourish us.
5. Baking. We don’t really get a chance to during the week (unless its bread or potatoes) but Sunday afternoons is at its best when we are flipping through the recipe books and asking ourselves, ’Mmmm what shall we bake today?’. This is one of those traditions that naturally tagged along from my own childhood. The smell of something delicious in the oven fills the house, friends sometimes come for tea. We spend an afternoon in the garden or by the fire. And it feels just right.
6. In our family the birthdays are well spaced during the year, so you don’t go more than 4 months before another chance to have a party. It is usually a time where we get to catch up with lots of friends and family that we don’t see that often, eat good food, and enjoy being a year older (and for the little ones, a lot taller). Sometimes one gets sick and thinks the party has been postponed indefinitely, but you’ve already bought the number ’31′ candles and got yourself all excited about attempting this cake for him. And so it seems like a pity to let a puny microorganism (inferior only in size and not power) ruin a perfectly good excuse to to drink home-brewed beer and be merry. Am I right? (The sub-editor in me can’t bring myself to spell it the internet way.)
7. Books. What’s not to love? Encouraging a love of reading is easy and part of our daily life.
8. Being creative is synonymous with being a child. These little people help me to remember how easy it is, once you quiet your mind and stop worrying about grown-up things, to have fun, get paint on your hands and dirt on your feet.
9. Our house is filled with nature bowls. Dust-collecting and spider-harbouring for some, precious treasures of sticks and leaves and stones for others. Bringing in little bits of the outside world whether its Autumn leaves or Spring flowers, make the seasons more meaningful for these little ones and beautify (or clutter, depending on who you are) many a windowsill.
10. Putting together our home-made advent calendar at the end of November involves dusting off the mini muffin pan, buying some speckled eggs and seeing how many of the numbers made it into the Christmas box last year and how many new ones need to be crafted. This is a special treat for the boy whose birthday falls on 1 December. Being able to christen the advent calendar On His Birthday is like some kind of divine winning lottery ticket. Who knew one speckled egg could bring so much joy?
11. Highs and lows. When their heads are on their pillows and the lights have been switched off and there is calm and sleepiness in the air, we take a few moments to share with each other the best and worst parts of our day. Sometimes I wait too long and I get answers like ‘My best part was… the green cat…. and we went on… jumping… forest… bike’.
12. Asking your daughter to help you think of one more family celebration for your list and she says, ‘I know! We all celebrate my beautiful long hair!’. She is not wrong. But my last one is more something I am trying to cultivate than an existing tradition. It is making the time and space for quietness (much coveted peace and calm), for more daydreaming and less Go, Diego, Go. Perhaps with a one-and-a-half-year-old, a three-and-a-half-year-old and an almost six-year-old, this is not practical. But it is never too soon or too late to start planting the seed, to create the life you want, to be in action of what is most important to you.
What are your most-loved and celebrated family traditions?
you can see the original post by Amanda here