I think of us as a young family. I still like to think of Hubster and I as very young parents and our boys as very young boys.
However, this will be the 10th Christmas Hubster and I have spent as a family. Along the way, we have collected a few traditions. There have also been things that we have done that I thought would be traditions. However, when we moved halfway across the country, or when my busy schedule overtook family like, some things got lost along the way. I've spent time mourning the traditions that are no longer. But what I'm starting to realize is that they didn't matter so much. The things that really mattered are the things that we still do, no matter where we live, or how crowded the schedule.
So despite us being a "young" family, ten years is plenty of time to have traditions, the things we "always" do.
There has always been an outing to pick a Christmas tree. Yes, it's taken place at different venues, from small tree lots to national hardware stores to local tree farms. But there is always an outing and there is always a real tree.
There has always been It's A Wonderful Life. I don't think I've gone a single Christmas without watching this movie. Last year, I hesitantly watched it with the boys, worrying that they would be put off by the length, the seriousness, or the black-and-white. But they loved it and we are excited to watch it again this year.
There are always paper snowflakes. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve making paper snowflakes. Each year, we still cut them out and tape them to the windows and hang them from the ceiling. This year, it may be the only snow we get.
There are always cookies with the cookie press. I always feel too busy to make cookies, but without fail, there is time for butter cookies, pressed into wreath and tree and star shapes and covered with sprinkles.
There has always been Christmas Eve story time, where we read The Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and the Bible Story. I get choked up and cry without fail.
There will always be latkes for Christmas Eve dinner, a reminder that there was Judaism before there was Christianity.
There will always be early Christmas mornings, with stockings and presents and monkey bread.
And even if many of these traditions fall away as time goes on and we stop being a young family and start being a grown family, there will always be the memories.