Getting married and having children means blending the traditions of your own family with those of your spouse. This really shows up around special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays.
Our first Christmas together, I hadn’t thought to tell my husband that, in my family, Santa had begun to fill the stockings of the grown-ups as well as the children, some years ago. This meant there was some awkwardness on Christmas morning when only one of us had a sock full of loot. Easily remedied the next year and ever since, as you can imagine.
On birthdays around here there is a choice: Mum’s sponge cake or Dad’s dense Biscuit Cake (the crumb-filled and delicious chocolate slab his mother made for him).
But as well as adopting our parents’ traditions we have gradually been building our own.
After lugging a real christmas tree home (the first year in a shopping cart, because we lived in the city, didn’t own a car, and had underestimated how much a real tree weighed. The next year hanging out of the back of our tiny Mitsubishi), Kevin never has the energy to do much but observe as I, kid at heart, drag out the tinsel and the baubles and decorate the tree. So now, every year, I decorate the tree while Kevin snaps pictures from the safety of his armchair, and tells me when I’ve left a bare spot.
A few years ago, now that we had a couple of kids who were probably old enough not to eat the fallen pine needles, we thought it would be fun to go back to a real tree. We were seized with the urge to go and cut down our own Christmas tree; something we had heard other people talking about doing year after year. We thought it sounded kind of crazy but kind of nice, and that we’d give it a try.
From that first ‘timber’, it has been something our boys look forward to, and take for granted now. Their excitement over this new tradition is the thing that drags us out of the house on the first weekend in December that doesn’t include high winds or sub-zero temperatures, and gets Kevin face down in the mud with a hacksaw.
So what new traditions have you formed in your family?