How to Keep Family Traditions

One of my all time favorite movies is the classic, Fiddler On The Roof. Though many life lessons can be learned from this movie, the one that stood out for me was the importance of upholding family traditions. I won’t give out any spoilers, but, in the movie, we discover alongside Tevye, the Jewish milkman and father of 5 daughters, that keeping traditions alive in a family can be challenging.

The holidays are the times we most often try to uphold our family traditions. Often, these traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. When I was growing up, our family unwrapped our gifts on Christmas Eve. My dad, would gather the family together and hand out gifts one at a time. When the unwrapping was done, we feasted on Christmas dinner as a family. Christmas Day was a day for visiting friends and enjoying all of our gifts.

So, it was only natural for me to uphold that same tradition when I had my own family. Luckily, my husband was willing to adopt my traditions. But for some, it can definitely become a problem if you both grew up with different family traditions. Over the years, I have had to let go of the traditional ways I grew up celebrating the Holidays. My children are grown with families of their own, and they have started their own traditions. There was many a time I felt like Tevye in the movie, and wanted to scream “noooo, that is not how we do things, it is not our tradition!” But, like Tevye, I came to realize that some traditions are better left as memories, so that there is always room for new ones.

So, how can we keep family traditions during the holidays, whilst keeping family peace and joy at the same time. Here are some suggestions that I myself have tried and found to be helpful:

  • Pick a Holiday – Since the holiday season stretches out over the course of 3 main events……Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, agree to host one of them with family and celebrate with the traditions you grew up with. It became a tradition for our children to celebrate Christmas Eve at our home, so they could be free to celebrate Christmas Day with their spouse’s family.
  • Pick another day – Though Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, you can always choose to celebrate on another day if their is a conflict, that way, no one has to make an uncomfortable choice. We often celebrated with a huge party on Thanksgiving weekend when I was growing up. Everyone was invited and brought a part of the meal that resulted in quite a feast.
  • Volunteer – Many churches actually prepare a Thanksgiving dinner to feed the homeless and less fortunate. It is a tradition that has changed many lives, both for the recipients and for those volunteering their time.

There are countless other ways that I’m sure many families have found to incorporate traditions from both past and present, keeping peace, love and harmony in their families.  I have only been speaking from the perspective of someone whose children are grown, with families of their own. But, it is wonderful when young families take the time to establish traditions that will continue for generations.

Whether your traditions are about what foods you cook, whose house you go to, what games you play or what decorations you put up this holiday season, the most important tradition of all is love. Love binds us all together. It transcends culture, social status, and feeds the soul. Without love, nothing will taste good, look good or feel good. If we can establish and cultivate love within our families, we can change the world. God Bless You All! Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Memories of An Apron

I am sure you have at some point read this poem written by Tina Trivett. If you read my last post, you know that I love seeing ordinary things become extraordinary and inspirational. The apron, is one of those things.

First, enjoy the poem:

Grandma’s Apron

The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she’d found.
Or to hide a crying child’s face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I’m sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best.

by Tina Trivett

Though written about her own grandmother, she so beautifully describes what could be all of our grandmas. I certainly remember my own grandma doing all of those things with her apron for my brothers and I. But, how is it that a piece of cloth, that was simply meant to cover and protect the clothing under it, become an iconic symbol for the grandmas of years gone by? It was a symbol of how hard women worked to keep house, fix dinner and often would till the fields, yet still make time to wipe noses and faces. This is not to say that women do not adorn themselves with aprons today, nor am I eluding to the fact fact, that your present day mom or grandma does not work as hard or even wear aprons. They most certainly do. But aprons have definitely come a long way in design and style.

I remember watching shows like,  The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and The Donna Reed Show. Or, who remembers Father Knows Best? I was a young girl when these T.V. shows were around, but the role of apron clad homemakers, inspired me to become one. Too often, the new role models for young girls, are about growing up to be corporate and business leaders, models, and a plethora of career minded opportunities. Let me emphasize that nothing is wrong with teaching our children to excel in this world. In fact, I encourage it. But, too often, teaching our daughters and granddaughters to become great homemakers, wives and mothers, gets lost in the busyness of life as we know it.

Did any of those shows depict a sense of “realness”? Does an apron give you the “magical powers” to transform into a bread making, house cleaning machine? Of course not. I do feel kind of like a “Betty Homemaker” when I strap on my apron though, and while there is no proof that my cooking improves, an apron still serves the same aged purpose that it was created to be…….keeping kitchen splatters from ruining my clothes.

Women across the world are preparing to cook holiday dinners for their families and friends. Whether you don an apron to remember your moms and grandmas, or to simply use it for it’s practical purpose, I encourage you, to simply have a heart full of love, and maybe wipe a few noses as well……..God Bless all of you!

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From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Tis the season to be crafty and I have been busier than a bee in springtime as I try to prepare for the holiday bazaars and craft fairs in my community. I love creating handmade projects and especially love seeing ordinary things that most people would throw out, and than have a vision to see it turn into extraordinary works of art. My eyes have been awakened to all kinds of possibilities for empty cereal boxes, pasta boxes and my favorite, empty pop tart boxes. (My sad excuse for eating all of the pop tarts is that I need the box.) I have been able to turn all of the mentioned boxes into beautiful photo album covers. I love creating and designing  photo albums and keepsake boxes.

I was not always able to see much potential in what would normally be deemed as trash, but the more I created,  the better I got at seeing things for what they could be and not just what they were. So often we can see ourselves as being invaluable, especially as we age. We can sadly fade into the background of life. But God, who created me in my mother’s womb, saw potential in me to be extraordinary. He sees that in each and every one of us. We may grow old and weary, but we are always valuable.

Here are some before and after pics of some of my  “trash to treasure” projects. I hope inspires you to look at life from a different perspective.  

I would like to share a how-to project that is a favorite of mine. It is taking an ordinary paper bag and transforming it into a unique and beautiful holiday gift card holder.  Here are the supplies I used:

  • 1 brown paper bag (I used the 3 1/2″ x  6 3/4″  Celebrate It brand of craft bags from Michaels)
  • Tacky Glue
  • Double-sided tape (Any strong brand will do, I used a roll from my local Dollar Tree)
  • Holiday Designer paper of your choice
  • Solid Cardstock (You don’t need very much, it is for the tags that go in the bag)
  • Ribbon
  • Small Artificial Poinsettia flowers, or sticker embellishments of your choice
  • Some scissors or a paper cutter if you have one

I trim about 1/4″ off the top of the bag, just to get rid of the serrated edge. Then, I open the side gussets of the bag and seal it shut with the double sided tape. You can also use the tacky glue. Do it on both sides. Next, fold up the bottom of the bag to form a pocket and crease really well with a bone folder or the edge of a ruler.

We are now ready to cut the decorative paper to cover the outsides of the bag. I like to use card stock weight to give the bag more of a sturdy feel. The sizes of your paper will vary, you can create this with lunch bags or any size paper bag, so as a general rule, I like to leave about 1/8 – 1/4 inch of a border around the bag. Cut and glue your pieces to the bag. Now, glue the side edges of the pocket down over the designer paper and cut of piece of any contrasting color or design to glue that to the front of the pocket.

The tag to go inside can be cut with a coordinating solid color to fit inside the pocket. I like it to be poking out about a half an inch so it is easily noticeable.This is where you write your sentiment. I glued a lighter piece of card stock onto the tag to make it easier to write. You can round the corners if you wish or just evenly snip the corners of each end to make it look more like a tag. Punch a hole at the top and add your ribbon.

Now decorate your card with whatever embellishments you like. Be creative, but remember if you are mailing it to keep it flat or you will be charged extra postage. My card measures, 3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″ to the top of the tag.

If you have any questions please leave a comment. I tried to make it easy to understand. More importantly, I hope your eyes would be opened to the beauty that all things and people have. God bless all of you!

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated for any purchases made at absolutely no additional cost to you. Thank you for all of your support.