Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holidays, food and family

Image credit: simplegreenorganichappy on Flickr
Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let's Talk Traditions
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

When I think back to the holidays of my childhood, my memories are of food, large family gatherings and decorations. I remember going to my grandmother's house and sitting around the huge dining room table with all of my aunts and uncles and lots of food. I remember sitting in our dark living room with only the lights of the Christmas tree illuminating the room, just sitting and staring, taking in the lights of the season. I remember my dad standing out in the cold, hanging the Christmas lights on the house and wrapping the large white pillars with red tape so they looked like giant candy canes.

We have similar traditions in our family now. We aren't religious, we don't "do Santa," so the holidays are largely about food and family. When I think of the traditions we have as a family, I think of food. Egg stuffing on Thanksgiving. Making cookies with Beanie. Lasagna on Christmas Eve and monkey bread Christmas morning. Spaghetti on New Year's Eve.

As Beanie gets older, we start new traditions -- driving around to look at Christmas lights, checking out local events and light displays, reading books about varying religious and cultural traditions, and making compassion kits to help the needy. We each pick out a new ornament for the tree each year; when the kids are older they can take these with them.

The holidays are an exciting time of year for our family and we love starting new traditions.

What traditions do you have for the holidays?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon December 14 with all the carnival links.)


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  2. At Christmas every year, we get all dressed up and go snowboarding - typically backcountry. When/If we have children, I will be excited to share that tradition with them as they get older...not necessarily snowboarding but being outdoors on Christmas. Cross-country skiing (they can go in a pack or a pulk) while they are small and actual skiing/snowboarding as they grow.

    (We also love to do stockings)

  3. Mmmmm, food plays a big part in my holiday memories too. This year, we are hosting Christmas dinner, and I think I've convinced everyone that we're going to try something different: a big Italian dinner instead of our usual turkey. Less stress (can be made in advance), less fuss, more time together. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Do you do gifts at all? I definitely think that most of the gift receiving memories of our youth fade over time and it is the meat of those special occasions (staring at the lights together - love that!), but I wondered if gifts are a part of your tradition.

    We aren't religious either and while I've always felt like I "lived for Giftmas morning" (because of Santa), I'm strongly considering dropping the Santa thing. Thank you for sharing your holiday traditions! I *always* wanted to have Christmas lights on my house, but didn't until I was in my thirties!

  5. Food and family have always been an important part of our Christmases, too. We taught our children that Santa was just a fun story, although one we all had a great time with. We still love those Santa movies - especially sitting together in the living room with only the movie and Christmas tree lights turned on! And we always enjoyed reading Christmas books throughout the holiday season.
    Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

  6. We love food too! I have such great memories of making cookies and other baked goodies with my mom and grandma, making apple sauce, and other Christmas dinner treats. Yum. I think this time of year is all about spending time together and making memories!

  7. I love all the food memories you have! That's such a fun way to mark the celebrations. I love the idea of having just the tree light illuminate the room, too. Makes me want to get my act together and get the Christmas lights up. :) We do compassion kits here, too; I just checked out your list and you had more great ideas for what we could include — thanks so much!

  8. I, of course, have many of the same memories as you :) I remember Grandma P's with the tiny tree on the coffee table and the Christmas village across the kitchen counter. I think I still have her grape stem trees in my storage bins. I miss Monkey Bread - I haven't had it for years because it's just me. One of my favorite parts of Christmastime is when I find a gift for someone that I know will surprise them and make them smile.

    And, I still remember the Christmas everyone accused me of peeking at my Heart to Heart Bear - which I still swear I didn't!


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