This time of year always makes me so sentimental. It makes me think of family. Holidays past. Traditions.
I think tradition is really the key to my nostalgia at this time of year. There are certain traditions that my family followed every year during the holidays that I remember so well and feel so happy to replicate with my kids.
I have wonderful memories of lots of family time at Thanksgiving.
This year, for the first time since my kids were born, we got to spend Thanksgiving with extended family. It was great fun.
The girls had lots of fun with their many, many cousins on my husband’s side of the family (there are so many kids my in-laws put carpet in their garage to make a big space for them to run and play inside).
They were playing some sort of football game. You can see how my girls look up to their older cousins.
Lass had no concept of the game being played. She mostly just wandered through the older kids, who were running and jumping and tackling and yelling all around her, singing and hugging this ball. It’s amazing (and a testament to her cousins’ consideration) that she never once got trampled, or even bumped!
This little one enjoyed hanging out with her Daddy and watching her sisters and cousins.
Thanksgiving dinner was eaten around a table set with my husband’s grandmother’s china and linens. The girls sat at the kid’s table, which is such a memory-laden rite of passage for every childhood in itself, and the adults crammed around the grown up table.
There was much laughter her about the fact that we were so squished around this table we could barely maneuver forks to mouths. Heaven forbid anyone needed to use a knife. It was a great meal in great company. Family.
When I see photos like these I can’t help but fast forward thirty or so years and imagine the memories my girls will have of our holidays and traditions. I want them to remember these feelings, whether they remember the specific instances or not.
I want them to remember time with family. That family was always placed at the top of our list of priorities. That they were always, always valued and loved by many.
I want them to have awesome auntie memories like I have.
I am so thankful we got to be with family for one of my favorite holidays this year.
When we got home, we moved right into one of my favorite traditions – decorating the Christmas tree. With Johnny Mathis Christmas music playing in the background of course.
There are few things more evocative of holiday memories and joy for me than decorating the tree. It’s an exercise in holding history and tradition in my hands with each ornament I put on the tree. Almost every ornament has a story. I have ornaments that belonged to my grandmas, that were made by my grandmas and great-grandmas, that were given to me by my Auntie, that were made by my mom and graced the tree in my house when I was a little girl, and so on. Of course I’m now adding the ornaments that belong to my girls. A new tradition in my little family (which I got from my Auntie) is that I give the girls each a special ornament each Christmas, trying to make it representative of something special that they did or experienced in the past year.
The first ornament put on the tree this year by each of my older girls was their “First Christmas” rocking horse. These are engraved with their names and the year.
They then proceeded with the rest of their individual ornaments and then helped me put all the non-breakable ornaments on the lower section of the tree.
For some reason the tree is leaning a bit this year. I don’t even care. I love our tree. It might even be a bit weird how much I love our tree. This thing is a big green, sparkly monument to my life, my family, and my history. It, and the process of creating it with my girls, bring me joy.