Friday, November 22, 2019

Five on Friday: Adapting Traditions

Lately we feel like a family with “just” three kids. Our oldest is off at college and the second oldest is a High School Senior frequently busy with his own plans. We’ve adjusted.

But as we enter this season rife with tradition, I’m beginning to realize that we still have other adjustments to make. Things still can feel a little different without the creative energy of our oldest daughter at home and then next three kids are pretty apathetic about maintaining most of our traditions . . . sometimes my husband and I are, too. We’ve been making the kids holidays magical for nineteen years now and maybe now lack a little enthusiasm in that department.

As I told a friend in a text message recently, “I’m struggling with abandoning traditions when there’s a 9-year-old here that still really wants to keep them going. Personally, sometimes I feel ready to just burn it all to the ground.”

She replied, “My head hurts just thinking about this. Your rich tapestry of glorious traditions and creativity is coming back to haunt you.”

She’s absolutely correct. This amazing holiday customs that we’ve created are so uniquely OURS—I refuse to be haunted by them. I can’t abandon them completely, but I can alter them and the truth is, the kids have led the way on some of these modifications.

For example:

          1. Halloween. Nobody was feeling pumpkin carving. I did purchase one though and had hyped myself up to help my youngest make a jack-o’-lantern even if I hate cutting pumpkins because nobody else was interested. I could have anticipated that little Miss Independent didn’t really want my help, anyway, just a little company and supervision as she created her masterpiece.

      2. Again, Halloween: we’ve always gone trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. I’m old school on this one and want no part of trunk-or-treat. Sometimes there’s a little push back but I tell them they can do that when they’re older. This year, the three trick-or-treaters here all let me know they had plans to meet up with friends in a neighboring town and then the boys each had plans for pizza at different friends' homes. It was my turn to be a little sad about changing traditions . . .

          3. Our Turkey of Thankfulness! Every year we make a big paper turkey and then write things we’re thankful for on paper feathers. This year our youngest daughter created and named the turkey with no input from anyone else (the boys didn’t care anyway so win-win). We mailed some paper feathers to our college student to complete, too. She is surely the only one of the five kids who’d comply with this, so next year when our son is away at school, we’ll be modifying again!

The boys don’t seem to mind participating in this one as they get to write really silly things on their feathers.
       4. Thanksgiving gingerbread: this is a big deal to us. It’s always over-the-top and takes several days to construct. Nobody wants to get rid of this one . . . but we’ll have to adjust this year. We normally start on Thanksgiving Day and then wrap it up over the weekend but this year we'll have to start the weekend before the holiday since our daughter will be headed back to school afterwards.

2017's gingerbread creation: our summer road trip!

5. Gingerbread smashing holiday party with friends: well, here’s the problem one. This year there is not a single damn date that works for our regular crew of friends. Do we pick a date that excludes one . . . or maybe do we create something entirely new? I could use a break from hosting the big holiday shindig, maybe it’s time to adapt. But I can’t be the sole decision maker on this one, so a discussion about this is top on the list of things to do while our daughter is home! Stay tuned . . .

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