"What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it."
This week's installment of Living Lovely with Family is all about yearly traditions. Heidi posted about her family's wonderful traditions at Mt. Hope Chronicles, and several others have shared as well. It's really been a lot of fun-- this sharing of ideas-- and encouraging, too! There really are so many fun things to do with family, big things and little things, that build lasting memories... and that's what this series is all about! So if you're interested in reading any of the other posts, check out the links on Heidi's blog.
In our family, many of our yearly activities are tied tightly to our vacations (but since that's the topic for next week, I'll save the vacation pics until then) and the holidays. Being with family-- both the immediate & extended-- is important to me. Very important. I truly am a "the-more-the-merrier" sort of gal when it comes to celebrating special occasions with loved ones. So whether it's sharing some turkey with all the fixin's around the Thanksgiving table or a hamburger and hotdog around the grill on the 4th of July... family is where it's at!
A few other activities that have inhabited special spots on our calendar are:
Trunk or treating at Big Man's preschool on (or around) Halloween. My older two enjoy handing out candy to the little ones, though this past year they were a bit disappointed that we hadn't decorated our van to "compete" with the one parked next to us. For the next couple years, we'll have to occupy ourselves with a new tradition (as Big Man will no longer be in preschool); but then it will be Lolli's turn and we'll all be able to enjoy this fun once again!
Every year, as we prepare for Christmas, we make several batches of homemade donuts to eat while we decorate the tree. Mom and dad started this tradition years ago, and to this day, we all look forward to this scrumptious treat at least once (and hopefully a time or two more) during the holiday season.
Then, on Christmas Eve night, the kiddos always open one gift each-- and it's always a present from Gramoggie & Poppa. And every time, it's a new pair of Christmas jammies! We love this great tradition that Gramoggie started before the kids were even born (I get a pair, too :)
And every year, we spend a chuck of our Christmas holiday with mom and dad at their house. It just wouldn't we Christmas if we didn't! Unfortunately, Chris's folks live very far away so we don't always get to see them then, but we look forward to their visits when they do make it east!
As Easter approaches, we always dye hard-boiled eggs to enjoy around the table (last year we didn't have any green ones, though, because Big Man ate the green dye tablet! He quickly realized it wasn't candy.), and then we stuff plastic ones with goodies to hide and hunt outdoors. The boys have already requested money inside the plastic eggs this year instead of candy!
After Easter comes and goes, summer is never too far away, and that means... a Memorial Day picnic to kick off the season and then a pool party to wrap it up. At the tail end of summer, Uncle Don & Aunt Francie always host an annual get-together, and there we gather with Chris's side of the family for a day of tremendous fun! Even though most of us live within a couple hours of each other, hectic schedules and individual commitments prevent us from getting together on a more regular basis. So when a date is set for this gathering, we black it out, insuring that nothing else conflicts with this special day :)
We love this time together with family...
...and good eats
... and a dip in the pool
One other summer tradition that we've maintained for quite a few years now is a family favorite for oh-so-many reasons... the county fair! Funnel cakes, salty french fries, giant sodas, hair-raising rides, and all the people-watching a gal could want :) In years past we've gone with my folks to their county fair; last year we went to our own. Of course, when I made arrangements with some good friends to all go together, neither of us realized that the day we chose was "Dollar Day." Evidently, the rest of the county did know that little fact because they were all there! We didn't get to ride too many things because the lines were so long, but being there together-- and with friends, to boot-- made it all worthwhile!
And so with that in mind, I leave off with this "lovely" thought (and for any who might read this, please know that I mean this in the most sarcastic sort of way... sometimes this sort of humor just makes me chuckle):
"If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because in five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.' "