looking for love in all the wrong places

i have been thinking a lot lately about traditions. my family would likely attest to the fact that i quite like them, the consistency, the ownership of something that is completely unique to us as a family. growing up i didn't have very many of them, but i can forgive that in my parents, it takes forethought and a desire to do it. maybe my mom did have it, i am not sure, but when i think back on that time i can only think of a couple.

as a family we ate quite healthy and junk food was frowned upon. as a result even the slightest of junk food was considered a treat. white sesame toast with peanut butter was to die for and chocolate milk was almost unheard of. this is a preface to one of the most memorable traditions which was that every easter my brothers and i were each given a box of sugary cereal. i remember hotly anticipating this event and waking up excited and ready for the unveiling of the cereal. if my mom had been paying attention, then she got us each the right one, the one we would have chosen. when she wasn't on her game she would give aaron one i wanted, and jealousy would ensue. that didn't happen very often though. i always thought it was funny that we all had friends that ate this type of cereal almost everyday and yet for us, it was like winning the lottery. aaron would eat his right away, if memory serves me correct, sometimes in one sitting (much like his response to halloween), but i tended to savour it, stretch it out and make it last.

there were others, the opening of one gift on christmas eve (although it was always the lame duck gift, as we didn't get to chose which one), saving the wishbone from the turkey at christmas to crack for luck later, and my birthday parties which always took place on our sundeck amongst my mom's brightly coloured summer blooms. now don't get me wrong, i am glad to have had some, but really these were rather mundane in the tradition department (well except the cereal, i quite like that one), so now that i am here in cohen's first year of life i find myself wondering what traditions we will create as a family.

one of the first ones we have decided upon involves his birthday. since it is in june, a month which typically brings alright weather to this part of the world, we have decided that we will make it a tradition to go camping on the weekend closest to the day. in the early years it will be car camping probably close to home, but i would like to think that as he gets older the trips could get more adventurous, more rugged and back country, perhaps with a camping gear gift given each year, so that one day he has enough good gear to carry the tradition on himself. i love to camp, and always have, i would like to pass that on to him, and i couldn't think of a better way to start.

so my question is, what traditions do you remember fondly as a child (and be prepared, i might steal them), or better yet, what traditions are you going to create for your family?


Jennica said...

We, too, had the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve... it was always new pajamas, so we'd look decent in the Christmas morning photos. :)

I'm not sure I'm quite close enough to having a family to be thinking of big-picture traditions... nothing much comes to mind. But I do think about the every day stuff, like imagining 'family reading time' every evening or something. And, after a while, it wasn't common in my house for the family to eat dinner together. But I would want that to be the expectation with my family...

m said...

Growing up, most of my family traditions centred around Christmas: advent calendar, advent wreath, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas Eve (when we opened all gifts), and all the food that went along with it. I could go on and on about Christmas.

As you know, I've been thinking a lot about this, too. I'd like to start some traditions and I've started reading a couple of books about it. One thing that popped out and I think is important to remember for me, is that don't do too much too early. Traditions build on themselves, grow as the family does. Don't go crazy too early on in setting stuff up otherwise you can get burned out and end up tossing it all. Good advice I thought. One thing I'd like to do is some how celebrate the seasons: the equinoxes and solstices. I was thinking of baking a "seasonal" cake for those days, maybe have a special seasonal meal. I dunno. Just thoughts right now. But marking festivities with special food appeals to me, like how manderin oranges are only available around Christmas. Stuff like that, but through out the year.

I love the idea of camping around Cohen's birthday. A really great tradition to start.

m said...

You know what, I just realized what one of my problems with Valentines Day and Easter is: chocolate. Those holidays are so much about chocolate, but chocolate is so everywhere all the time it doesn't have that specialness, to me at least. Huh.

Heather & Family said...

My mom was great at making non-traditional holidays fun.
Every March we took a trip to the sugar maple bush for demo and bought a big tin of syrup. My mom would pour us each our own bowl of way too much syrup and serve strips of white toast. It was heaven!!!

Every sunday my dad made soft boiled eggs and served them to us like a waiter in our own special egg cups.

My grandama made us write in a scrapbook when we visited her and I cherish those books so much now.

I really need to start doing this more with my kids!!! Thanks for tweeking my interest!

t said...

jennica i whole heartedly agree about the reading and the dinner together. my mom was fairly strict about dinner at the table, and i suspect i will be as well. marko reads to cohen every night before bed, so i guess that is there tradition to share.

m, i think it is an excellent point about moderation and had thought about that myself. i think that is why i feel compelled to brainstorm as there will only be a handful of traditions, so i want them to be good! i love the equinox idea, it feeds right into my pagan ideas (and you say you aren't a hippy!)

heather, what a great idea about the scrapbook and yum on the syrup. that doesn't work so well on this side of the country though! you should start that with your kids!