The Importance of Keeping Traditions
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on December 17, 2011
This post contains a partial outline/overview of the introductory section of the chapter on “Holidays and Traditions” in Homepreschool and Beyond.
Remember, we have only ONE WEEK to make sure that all of our traditions/fun baking and craft ideas get done this year. Can you believe it?!
Christians need to reclaim the territory of our spiritual heritage. The onus lies on us, as Christian parents, to entrust our children with the true significance of these special occasions. Our celebrations must be distinctive, for the sake of our children and of a Christ-less world.
We are a very “tradition-based” family come Christmas time. We tend to do the same activities in pretty much the same way every year. I think we all know that traditions are important (especially for little children), but have you ever taken the time to think about why?
-Traditions are about “the main thing”: building relationships. “Traditions help us strengthen our relationship to God, our families, and our children. They help us remember what is truly important.”
-Traditions provide security: In today’s world, children need to know that life at home continues pretty much the same as always. As much as possible, our homes should be havens from the troubled world around us. This is important to children of all ages.
-Traditions are part of our family identity and culture; they reveal who we are, where we belong, what is important to us, and what is unique about us.
-Traditions provide continuity between the generations, and they are a source of family memories and stories.
-A year is a long time for preschoolers, who depend on holidays to make sense of the passage of time. The book, Over and Over by Charlotte Zontolow is a great book to help preschoolers understand the order of the seasons and the holidays (we skip over the two pages about Halloween.)
-Traditions allow us to make Bible stories and the history of our country come alive
– Traditions are FUN!!
Here is a list of some of the traditions we are going to keep this year:
-Christmas ornaments/decorating the tree:
Every year each child gets a new Christmas ornament. I write the child’s name and the date on the bottom of it with a Sharpie pen. We try to choose ornaments that reflect something memorable that happened that year. For instance, the year they learn to ride a bike, their ornament might have a Santa riding a bike; the year they got a new pet, an ornament with a cat or dog on it, etc. In addition, each child has his/her own ornament box. When the time comes to decorate the tree, each child takes great joy in looking over his/her own special ornaments, and remembering the past years (and past Christmases). Other tree-trimming traditions: Listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas Album; taking pictures of each family member putting their first ornament on the tree; eating pizza; and later in the evening, putting in a Christmas movie (usually It’s a Wonderful Life.)
-Baking and decorating sugar cookies (a messy proposition, usually involving tons of icing and sprinkles.)
-Making daddy popcorn balls and beef jerky (another messy proposition.)
-Reading TONS of Christmas books
-We have a special Christmas book we read each night in December, called The Advent Calendar Pop-Up Book, by Meryl Doney. Each flap reveals a little more of the Christmas story. (There is one sentence I edit for accuracy). Although it is out of print, it’s still easy to find on Amazon or E-Bay.
-Attending our church’s Christmas Eve service.
-Making a cake on Christmas Eve, and singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus on Christmas day.
-This year, we’re making tons of Christmas art: The boys have already been busy painting resin ornaments and Santas. In addition, I hope to get them involved in more painting, metal art, puff art, shrinky dinks, felt ornaments, paper ornaments, and more! Here are links to some of my favorite, inspirational ideas:
-Traditional crafts for older kids: Orange Pomanders
-Inspirations for mommy-crafts:
This post contains excerpts from the book, “Homepreschool and Beyond”; used with permission. © 2010, 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.