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 Post subject: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:46 pm 
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for almost every Thanksgiving for several years now my husband and i have been going to upstate NY and staying with his parents. every year the weekend after Thanksgiving in the "village" area of the town they live in they do "Dickens Christmas." so basically people dress up as Dickens characters and walk around and talk like them and they have Father Christmas and they sing carols and there are roasted chestnuts (which btw are disgusting) and you can walk around the shops and stuff and i dunno its super cheesy but i LOVE it and it became a tradition for me. they are in the process of moving to NC where we are going for Thanksgiving this year and it occurred to me there is a really big chance i will never do the Dickens Christmas thing again. (SAD!)

so im looking for some traditions to replace that. im specifically thinking Thanksgiving because i think that will be the one time of year my inlaws will have their entire family together and right now there are 3 grand babies with one on the way. one is only a baby but then their is BP and her cousin who is the same age and i think it would be really special to have some sort of tradition for the kids to do with their grandparents every year. i think my MIL would be in heaven too.

i know there is already this thread
http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=23816&hilit=holiday+traditions

but that's specifically geared towards Xmas. non religious traditions would be best because my husband's family is Jewish so something like baking Xmas cookies wouldnt be appropriate but my BIL's girlfriend is like super uber Jesus loving Christian so i think staying away from anything religious would just be best. plus Thanksgiving isnt really a religious holiday anyways.

ideas i have come up with would be the kids waking up and helping Bubbe (my MIL) make breakfast the day after Thanksgiving or something
my MIL always makes these cinnamon rolls every year so maybe having the kids "help" with that.
having my in laws make place mats with the kids for everyone for Thanksgiving dinner

everything else i can think of has a Christmas theme to it like finding a tree lighting to go to together or something. i dunno if they would want to do that. i mean they did go to the Dickens Xmas thing every year with me so it's not like they are like "oh no we cant do that"

im struggling for ideas.
it doest matter if it ends up being a messy idea its more about making the memories than the end product (ie 2 year olds"helping" make breakfast). my MIL would happily let the kids trash her house if it meant they were spending time with Bubbe doing something fun.

im also open to Christmas and Hanukkah tradition ideas for later. i know i used to make sugar cookies every year with my mom and grandmother before Xmas and after my grandmother passed away i stopped doing it because i was too sad. i know my parents still do it every year so i asked my mom if me and BP can join this year.

my understanding of Hanukkah is traditionally it's not the BIG DEAL that Xmas is (though it appears that retailers are trying to force it to be a BIG DEAL). right now BP has her own menorah and last year she and my husband lit the candles every night and we gave her a small gift. last year my in laws were here for Hanukkah so we got to celebrate with them which was nice. this year Hanukkah is really early and we will have just gotten back from traveling and there is a really good chance i wont even have gotten the menorah out of the attic yet.

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:55 pm 
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I think sometimes the best traditions just come about kind of naturally. So maybe cookie baking if people like baking cookies, but it sucks when your holiday tradition involves forcing everyone to do something meaningful hahaha

I grew up going to midnight mass and that was a huge tradition for me. But Brett refuses to go so we got new traditions, because what's the point of a tradition if people don't enjoy it?

What kind of stuff do you like? Winter dog walk, baking cookies, lighting candles?

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:14 pm 
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For Thanksgiving, my family always plays board games. And certain people always cheat. BP might be too little for board or card games, but something similar? Hide and seek or sardines? We also always light a fire that day (again, not small child-friendly) and take a family walk.

For Chanukah, my mother reads the story of Chanukah. It's a boring version, but there are lots of kid books with better ones. We light candles. We each pick the candle we think will last longest. When my mother was a kid, the one who guessed right got to stay up an extra half hour. Now we just win bragging rights. We make latkes, and my mother yells at everyone because we don't grate fast enough. And grandma buys eight (very small) gifts for the grandchildren. (Stickers, hair ribbons, candy, that sort of thing.) We also sometimes play dreidle, but it's actually a pretty boring game.

We don't really do Christmas, but there are usually some gifts to open from non-Jewish friends and relatives. We read the Night Before Christmas, including a short family history by my grandmother, because an ancestor wrote it. And my father wears a red ski cap all week because he looks like Santa, and it makes stranger children happy.

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:15 am 
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i love hearing everyone's traditions. i texted my MIL and she had some great ideas.
most of them right now are super simple because the girls are only 2 but it was things like helping her decorate, helping her cook, helping her make breakfast the day after thanksgiving, helping my FIL collect sticks outside to make a fire.
when i say helping i always mean "helping" ;-)

there is also some plantation nearby where you can go hiking so she suggested a family hike. next year there might even be 2 new walkers joining us. definitely one and then it will depend on when the new baby starts walking. it's due in December so might be toddling with help.

mj i love the pic of your dad and that he wears a red hat to look like Santa! kids must love that when they see him.


i was talking to my mom the other day and im struggling what to do about the holidays (mainly Xmas).
i loved Xmas growing up but i feel like it's really different these days. it's so unbelievably commercialized and crammed down kids throats basically year round.
i dont have a problem with the concept of Santa. i grew up with it and it didnt scar me. i know some people are like majorly anti Santa but i feel pretty ambivilant about it. my issue is lording it over their head and it becoming a BIG HUGE THING.
also one thing i read that had never even occurred to me is financial differences between kids in school (where a lot of santa talk im sure happens)
why does one kid who's parents have money get an Xbox and a bike and whatever else from Santa and the poor kid gets a small present from Santa? so i think we will keep Santa minimalist here and not make a big deal out of it.

we got the Elf on a Shelf thing as a gift (which i had asked for) because i thought it was a cute idea and even last year BP didnt 100% understand she would find him every morning and i thought that was fun. then i read the book that comes with it and was horrified. the elf basically is santa's spy and reports back all the bad things the kids do to Santa. i mean DANG!
i dunno maybe ill change my tune now that i have a 2.5 year old demon child so maybe all of a sudden the idea of Santa has behavior control will become more appealing.

the tradition i want to start with BP is going shopping every year for physical donations for various charities and then going to drop them off. last year i never got around to the shopping part so i picked out a women's shelter and an animal shelter and just sent money but this year i hope to take her shopping.

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:44 am 
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I got nothin', sorry (we don't celebrate Christmas or any winter holiday), but I laughed when I read that you think roasted chestnuts are disgusting. I was so excited to finally get some when we moved to the countryside and a local village had a street vendor selling them and after eating just one, I gave the rest to my husband. :/

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:00 pm 
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You and your Mom both have lovely ideas. We always go for a walk or hike on Thanksgiving too.

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 Post subject: Re: holiday traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:06 am 
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I may have already posted this. But growing up our thanksgiving traditions were to watch the Thanksgiving day parades on TV while snacking on chips and dip. Then my dad would take the kids out hiking while my mom and anyone who didn't want to hike finished up the flurry of kitchen preparations for a mid afternoon feast. Then we always played the same cardgames (that ONLY came out on Thanksgiving and Christmas).

We have been basically in survival mode since we had children...so I sadly have no thanksgiving family traditions started for my own little family. Since we just moved to a place with extended family we are going to spend thanksgiving with my brother and SIL. So maybe that will be our new tradition?! I would say, just do what comes naturally, that promotes family spending time together having fun. All my fondest memories are the simple but special things like making cut out cookies with family and playing card games and such.


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