The other day we loaded up the family van and headed off to our favorite Christmas tree farm located about forty-five minutes away. If you are ever in the south puget sound area and need a Christmas tree we highly recommend Clyde and Dale’s Tree Farm. We had a blast riding in a horse drawn wagon pulled by a couple of Clydesdale horses. The kids picked a beautiful noble fir Christmas tree. ThankfullyI brought three of my sons with me to help with the physical part of the trip, although in the end the tree we picked was so large and so tough we ended up cheating and for the first time used a chain saw!
Ever since our oldest child Alyse was very young we’ve tried to create traditions. Many of those traditions naturally happen during the holiday seasons. Picking and cutting down a Christmas tree is one of our more loved traditions. When possible we go the day after Thanksgiving in order to maximize the number of days we have a tree in our living room! Now years later our oldest kids love hearing about and taking part if possible, in our Christmas tree outings. When they can’t make it they want pictures and stories of how the trip went. We’ve creatively turned what could be a 20 minute errand to the local tree stand into a four or five hour trip complete with singing carols in the van, a quick stop for food or hot chocolate and coffee, and even on occasion a little Christmas shopping.
There are so many reasons why it is a good idea to establish strong traditions in our families. Let me offer three for your consideration!
- It provides another sense of belonging. Family traditions become markers of sorts – a way to identify with the family. In the Pritchard home we always…(fill in the blank). It’s one of the reasons our adults kids want to know about our tree farm trip. They are a part of that family outing.
- It encourages you to block off time on your calendar. The busier you are and the more you feel called to serve others, the easier it will be to completely fill up your calendar with important, but lower priority items. Having some family traditions cause you to plan for things early. Long before Thanksgiving we are talking about when we will go to get our tree.
- It creates a sense of legacy. Whether our kids do exactly what we do or not, they have a sense of passing on traditions to the next generation. Certainly there are much more important issues to pass on than cutting down a Christmas tree. But as traditions are passed from one generation to the next, automatically more than just that tradition is passed along.
And certainly what could be considered a fourth reason is traditions are fun. They create a rhythm of life for our children. They are another way our family is knitted together in deep and lasting ways. Traditions are important all year long. The holidays are just another opportunity to create some annual events for your family. I hope this Christmas your family can enjoy many holiday traditions. And if you don’t have any, then why not start this year?!
What are some of your favorite traditions from childhood? Does your family have some Christmas traditions? We’d love to hear from you! Check out our 1 minute “Tradition” video at www.PritchardMinistries.org.