I’m sure you’ve seen by now that Instagram has been a tremendous tool in helping me find my book community. This collection of bookstagrammers have shown me that there are others out there who love books and reading to their children as much as I do. Keyosha is another gem in the book community and I’m honored to have her here.
What traditions do you hold dear for the holidays? Is it dressing up for Christmas dinner? Decorating the house together as a family? Playing a family flag football game together? As I write this post, I am reflecting back on traditions from my childhood. The traditions I hold the closest and dearest to my heart. The traditions I want to share with my kids from my childhood, because they make my heart extra happy. Before I tell you the traditions that now make this time of the year special for me, I feel I should tell you that traditions AREN’T sacred in my household. GASP…did I just say that? Yes, why yes I did. You see we are a military family that has lived thousands of miles away from our families for years. Fast forward to over a decade of marriage, 3 kids of our own, and being a military family my husband and I have fond memories from our childhood holiday seasons, but knew we had to make our own family traditions for our kids childhood memories. It’s not that traditions aren’t sacred to us they are, just in a different way. A few of my holiday season childhood memories that makes my heart sing was spending Christmas Day mornings devouring a delicious breakfast with my huge extended family at my Uncle Ben and Aunt Evelyn’s church, gathering my childhood church’s choir and driving around to sing Christmas carols to our sick and shut in members, tailgating on Turkey Day before the big game, and eating scrumptious food all holiday season long. After serious thought one year during the holiday season when I was missing my childhood family traditions, I realized it wasn’t so much of the traditions themselves I was missing, but the fellowshipping and memories created that I was missing because they meant the most to me.
A few family traditions we’ve started with our own family and close friends is inviting a few friends over for a baking playdate. We will get together and make pans and pans of sweet homemade holiday treats such as peppermint bark popcorn, danish shortbread cookies and candied nuts to share with other loved ones. Another tradition my husband and I look forward to every year is packing is packing up our crew, going to the store and letting each child pick out a special ornament to hang on the tree that is unique to them. This year to make that tradition even more meaningful, we will have our kids tell us the story of why their 2016 ornament is special to them. My husband and I will then transcribe their stories into their own personal notebooks and each year add to it, so one day we can wrap it up, put it under the tree and watch them look back at the memories we shared as a family when they read it years later. This particular tradition didn’t start out as a tradition, but has honestly taken on a life of it own and is now considered a tradition. On Christmas Eve, before bedtime the kids open and wear their Christmas pajamas for Christmas morning. When they wake up, we immediately FaceTime our families and walk down to the Christmas tree together to open gifts, snap pictures (screenshots) and share the moments together over FaceTime. Lastly, my kids love books so we read loads of books during the holiday season that celebrate giving, love, peace and most of all Jesus. Besides reading the story of Jesus from the Bible a few other books we enjoy reading as a family during this time of year that reads well for toddlers and up are:
What are some of your family traditions that you look forward to doing every year with your family?
Keyosha Atwater is an avid reader, Instagramer and blogger. When she isn’t reading to her own kiddos or reviewing books on Instagram @weebooklovers, you’ll find her working on her brand new blog, Wee Book Lovers, where she’ll be reviewing even more books and suggesting the best of the best kid-tested, mom-approved books to try with your own family.