Our Family Holiday Traditions

‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.’  (Genesis 2: 24, NIV)

This is the Word of God, and it establishes a number of expectations regarding what a marriage should be:

  1. a  union of two mature people (‘man…wife’)
  2. a start of a new family (‘united’)
  3. unity between husband and wife (‘united…one flesh’)
  4. a foundation of intimacy and trust (‘one flesh’)
  5. a dynamic process (‘they become‘)

The “becoming” is the part that throws many marriages into a spin–a spiral from which many marriages never return.  It occurs to me why holidays are so stressful for families, and why the obnoxious or overzealous relative is the stuff that sitcoms are made of.

Personally, it took us a number of years to come together in how we celebrate our holidays, and most of what I now see as “traditions” have nothing to do with any deliberate intentions on our part.   As these things happen, it was when we stopped forcing the festivities that the “norm” for us fell into place.

In the earliest years of our marriage, before both my parents passed away, we made a point of spending one holiday with my husband’s parents and the other with mine.  And we alternated–one year was Thanksgiving with my in-laws and Christmas with my family, then Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his the next year.   Once my parents went to be with the Lord, our traditions became less solidified.   My adult siblings with their adult children managed the holidays differently than our family with younger children, and my husband’s family was very small and all local.  The fact that we saw them fairly regularly created a different holiday “vibe,” as opposed to visiting with my family, whom we saw less than once per year at that point.

We also dismissed with the traditional turkey during this season.  In truth, none of us likes it, and there was far, far too much of it left for us to struggle with eating.

So, years later, having let go of the declarations about where we spend time and with whom, having eaten whatever strikes our mood, and even incorporating some rare family game time, there are a few “traditions” that have revealed themselves.

First, the meal–our meal, in which everyone has a favorite dish.

thanksgiving meal nov 2015 shot 1

I cooked that yard bird (aka chicken) 3-4 different ways, but everyone sat down to the table enthused, then satisfied.  More importantly, by Monday, we had no leftovers.   The mac n’ cheese was our son’s main dish, but it with the greens (not pictured) and the green beans went fast enough for me to think that it was sufficiently tasty for us all.

Apparently, we have also begun another family tradition–the holiday field/ road trip.

reg and b missions trip nov 2015 shot 3


We never go too far away from home, but we seem to find a place that transforms us back to a time when all our kids were small.  With one gone and one leaving, recapturing those moments as five are so much more precious now, even when we are on each other’s last nerve.

Christmas traditions?   We are still in a state of flux there, but more on that later.

What holiday traditions have you established?


4 thoughts on “Our Family Holiday Traditions

  1. Our traditions, like yours, have developed and changed over the years as our famiky has grown, developed and changed. In the early years, we did the “his family/my family” dance, but that proved to be a never ending source of drama, discord and frustration. I would literally DREAD the holiday season in anticipation of the toxicity of those situations. We began to develop our own traditions when our oldest was about 2 years old and I was pregnant with our second child. And we have never looked back. The things we “regularly” do are fluid and I love that! There was a period of time when our Thanksgiving consisted of dinner at Cracker Barrel and whatever was the latest kid movie at that time. Now we are back to cooking at home (Cornish hens are the stars of the dinner…we don’t really care for turkey either) and the most enjoyable part is the post dinner game and music showcase! We play games, talk game board trash (nothing crazy or hurtful) and wrap up with singing, dancing and sharing creativity.

    Our 3rd son asked me, this year, if when they all get grown and have families would we still have Thanksgiving here at home? I said: “No, I think all of you and your spouses will have wonderful holiday ideas and I am looking forward to being invited to participate in those experiences in the future.” His reply: “Ok…that’s cool, but you will still make the sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, cake, mac-n-cheese and cornbread dressing, right?!?!?” LOL!!!


    • Thanks for the visit! I would miss our kids terribly, Tauleece, once they reach that season in their lives where they may–or may not–be home for the holidays. Having said that, I think it is far more important to role model for them God’s plan for unity in marriage, even if it means that Mom has to let go and allow THEM to model what she and Dad worked hard to sustain. (Heavy sigh…)


      • Yes indeed! It is tough to imagine them all living and doing the very thing we modeled for them. But I try to be excited about it and let them know that it is something they should look forward to as well. I don’t ever want to convey a sense of pressure for them to make sure I stay comfortable rather than them looking forward to and embracing the idea of building their own legacies.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: On a Mission (or two) in San Antonio, Texas | The Blessed Heritage Chronicles

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