Here are a few of my favorite Holiday Traditions:
Thanksgiving — Get a big white tablecloth and have everyone use fabric markers to write or draw a picture of a few things they’re thankful for each year. Then, every time you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you get to read the things people have written in years past. I wish I were the genius who thought of this one.
“You Are Special” Day — For a date night a few months ago, Dan and I made a “you are special” dinner plate. The plate gets pulled out when someone either does something really special (gets a great test score, shows heroic kindness, has a birthday, learns how to balance their 2 year old brother on their nose like a seal) or needs some special love and attention. It’s a big deal to use the “you are special plate.”
It’s only been used one time in our house, Mega Corp bonus time this year. DY Dad got a decent bonus and we got to chuck it on the mortgage. Can you hear the ping sound it made as it dropped in the bucket? Yeah, neither could we.
Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day — In Canada, there’s something special, almost sacred about November 11th. It is a solemn day of remembrance and respect for those who give their lives for our freedom. Up there it is called Remembrance Day and it occurs on the same day as Veteran’s Day here in the US. Everyone wears a red poppy on their lapel for about a week leading up to the Holiday. Schools hold solemn assemblies and everyone with a uniform wears it. I remember wearing my Brownie and Girl Guide uniform to school.
At 11:11am, people all across the country observe a moment of silence. I still maintain this tradition with my kids and recite the poem In Flanders Fields, with my thumbs tucked in every November 11th. (When we stood at attention or had to do any recitation in my elementary school, they told us to do it with arms at our sides and our thumbs tucked into our hands. I think this was to keep us from poking each other or picking our noses, but I still do it today when I recite poetry.)
Christmas — My favorite tradition growing up was putting hay in the manger. My mom told us the story of the first Christmas and then she put out a small empty wooden manger near the Christmas tree. Every time we did a secret good deed, we could put one piece of hay in the manger. On Christmas morning, “Baby Jesus” (usually a well-swaddled baldish cabbage-patch kid) would appear in the manger if there was enough hay for Him to rest comfortably there.
I can still remember my mom encouraging us to keep up the kind deeds, “You don’t want that sweet baby to clunk his little head on the bottom of an empty manger, do you?”
We had so much fun doing kind things for each other and then waiting until no one was looking to deposit our one piece of hay. The manger was always full by Christmas Eve.
Tip Day Tuesday — This is a tradition where you get to share your thoughts and ideas so everyone else can steal them. Please observe it. 🙂