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Growing Family Traditions

Your tree is probably going up in the next week or so, if it's not already up.

It will glisten with ornaments crafted with the prowess of a second grader's hand, revealing the abundance of Elmer’s glue and glitter.

You’ll proudly display all manner of dried pasta, popsicle sticks, and poorly-taken school photos from that beautiful, uneven, over-priced tree.

Packed among the half-working, half-not strands of lights that you didn’t check before you put them on the house are the assumptions of your family traditions during the holidays.

Turkey for Thanksgiving with football for dessert. Check.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve while waiting for cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Check.

Trying not to set the dead tree in your living room on fire. Check.

Each year at Thanksgiving, we would make "thankful books."  They were our crude renditions of remembrance.  If you lay those side-by-side, you see them grow in relationship to our kids.  What began as stick figures on a book made from a cut-out of their hand slowly gives way to an abstract art piece symbolizing faith and family or a video created using photos taken throughout the year.

Our tradition grew with us.  And, in complete transparency, our kids haven’t wanted to make books or projects the past few years.  (I blame those dumb AP classes!!)  They want to be "off when they’re on "vacation."

So this year we simply spent time talking about gratitude that we hadn’t expressed that we should have, people who had impacted our family without knowing it, and a sincere prayer of thanks from each of us for God’s abundant provision in our household.

It was a little sad to release the safety scissors and glue-stick figure tradition of the past – but sometimes our traditions grow with us.

They change.

They morph.

They disappear, only to reappear later.

And maybe one day the traditions of your children will become those of your grandchildren.

The important part of "tradition" is the heart and memory – not the execution.  So let your family traditions grow and evolve as your family does…except for the cinnamon rolls.  Those have to stay.

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  • […] was reading through Darren Sutton’s great post on Growing Family Traditions. I appreciated his driving point – “The important part of ‘tradition’ is the heart and […]

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