Friday, December 3, 2021

Five on Friday: The Evolution of Holiday Traditions

It's family tradition season, folks! It starts annually in October when the bin of Halloween decor comes out of the attic only to be swapped out for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year . . . 

Every year there's the possibility for slight tweaks but the changes have picked up in frequency, due to three main factors:

* First: Kids insisting on growing up. Our oldest two are off at college so aren't home to participate in some traditions. Some of them start to feel a little too babyish, so it's understandable that the young teens will begin to roll their eyes at them. But with a ten-year age gap between oldest and youngest, I've always wanted to make sure there was plenty of holiday magic for the youngest to experience, too.

Somehow, though, even the baby has grown though and she's now a tween herself. This means she wants to act grown but still be a little girl. This extends to how she approaches holiday traditions (eye-roll or get excited?)

Some examples from this category include:

1. Decor placement! I shared this meme with my friend and we both chuckled. 

I can relate to the sentiment while also realizing how silly it is. This year my 11-year-old wanted to place all the Halloween decorations around the house and she was absolutely putting things where I didn't usually put them. I had to tell myself to relax and appreciate how excited she was to be doing it herself. And really, who cares? (Okay fine. It's me. I care. I stealthily switched some things around but I swear, just a few.)

2. The Thanks-Giving Turkey has traditionally been made of paper and added to after dinner the entire month of November. This wasn't really possible since two kids were at college and three kids didn't care that much about it. I still wanted to have an option on Thanksgiving Day so this year it was relegated to the chalkboard door, participation optional:

* Second factor, related to first: parents getting burnt out.
3. The annual gingerbread creation, originally my husband's idea and project, has been feeling overwhelming to him in the past couple of years. It is really fun, though, so many of  us are not ready to abandon it. 

My oldest daughter and I usually take the lead on it but this year it felt particularly burdensome . . . I wondered if this might be the end. Somehow all five kids ended up getting really invested in it (in a way I hadn't expected) and it turned out great. It's our family's Museum of Art:

4. Aw, look how cute these card holders are that I made! I hated throwing away all the great holiday cards we get so I started saving them in homemade pouches. I was delighted that my children loved poring through them each year.

Uh, apparently last year's card holder looks like this:

This is a plastic zippered pouch that bedsheets probably came in, with 2020 written on it in marker. Is it because I was burnt out--or does this one really belong under the . . . 

* Third Factor: Pandemic influencing everything.
Because maybe a shitty plastic low-effort card holder just sums up 2020, am I right? 

Lastly. . . 

5.  When I opened up the bin of Christmas decor, I thought, "Why the heck is there a face mask in here?" 

Oh. A holiday-themed one I made last year and surely put away thinking that by 2021 it'd be a funny blast from the past . . . that's sort of bittersweet, isn't it? Because now I wonder if we'll be wearing it again in 2022.
Man, is that a bummer way to end this list? I didn't mean it to be. Overall I want to express that times and our family are changing and actually, I'm okay with it. Yeah we have holiday-themed masks but now we also have vaccines and boosters . . . we spent time with family, in person (!!), this Thanksgiving. 

I'm thankful to be alive and healthy to experience these evolving traditions together . . . might have to add it that to my chalkboard turkey.

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