I love traditions. I have some personal traditions that I try to follow annually and there are others that we celebrate as a family. Traditions help establish our family’s culture and tie us together. We’ve also tried some traditions that just didn’t seem to take. Here are some of my favorites and a few that just didn’t work.
Birthday Dinner – In addition to our traditional birthday gift giving and any other celebrations we have (as the kids have gotten older, the actual “party” has morphed and eventually vanished). We have another tradition, though, that the person celebrating their birthday gets to pick a location for a family dinner. We’ve had family dinners everywhere from McDonald’s to Chucky Cheese to a favorite hibachi grill. The adults involved have had more fun celebrating birthday dinners as the kids have gotten older and picked more adult restaurants. Not only is the food better, but the atmosphere is much more conducive to a nice conversation.
Christmas Eve Pizza – This tradition started when I was still a kid living at home. We started a tradition of ordering pizza for our evening meal on Christmas Eve. When I got married, I insisted that we carry on the tradition. My wife agreed, after all, who doesn’t like pizza and an “easy to clean up” meal, especially on Christmas Eve. When our kids started getting older, and with the advent of VHS and DVD, we added in the watching of both Charlie Brown Christmas specials. Now, even my married daughter loves to make it to our house in time for Christmas Eve Pizza and Charlie Brown.
Baseball Spring Training – This is a personal tradition for me. Every year, sometime during Spring Training, I try to watch the baseball movie Bull Durham. I’m not sure when I started this tradition, but in my head and heart, it really signifies the start of baseball season more than anything else. This year I was a few days late with my viewing and only got to the movie last night. But it was just as good as ever.
Christmas With The Apes – This tradition has faded with time and with the advent of older kids. Years ago, the cable channel TBS used to run the entire series of Planet of the Apes movies on Christmas Day. It was great fun to have this going on in the background while the kids were playing with new toys and while the adults caught cat naps or snacked on food. Unfortunately, as the kids have gotten older, we buy fewer toys but more DVDs and Blue Rays. This has relegated our Christmas Day as “new movie” day when we watch all the new movies we bought for Christmas.
Pirate Day – I’ve been trying off and on to get this tradition to take root in our family. September 19th is the annual Talk Like A Pirate Day, so I figured it was a great time to watch the movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Unfortunately, while my family will gladly watch a movie with me, they’ve yet to pick up on the tradition part of this. So if, like last year, I forget, we end up skipping this tradition.
Christmas Eve PJs – A couple years when the kids were younger, we bought them PJs for Christmas and let them open those gifts on Christmas Eve after the pizza and movies. They would then go change into their new Christmas PJs to sleep in… or lay in bed quietly in. It lasted a couple of years while they were all thrilled with getting new PJs, but eventually faded when they had both full PJ drawers and a more expensive wish list.