by Cynthia MacGregor
How does your family celebrate holidays...and not just "The Holidays"--the major ones that stare with Thanksgiving, end with New Year's, and include Christmas and/or Chanukah and/or Kwanzaa? I'm talking about all holidays, including the patriotic ones, the minor ones, and every other "special" day on the calendar.
If you have kids at home, you are probably interested in several things in connection with the holidays:
· Making the holidays meaningful--they're more than just a day off from school.
· Making memories that your kids will treasure long after they're grown: "Oh, I remember when we were kids, on Easter Mom would always __________."
There are two primary things you can do that will make holidays-any holiday-more meaningful and help makememories your kids will treasure. Pick either one. Pick both.
One is to initiate a custom that's specific to your family and centers around that holiday, be it Christmas or Thanksgiving, Presidents' Day or Valentine's Day, or even such occasions as the night of a full moon or the first day of spring. The other is to develop a ceremony for that occasion.
I happen to have written two books that touch on those two subjects-but whether or not you buy the books, I still urge you to follow their precepts.
The traditions you establish for your family need not be anything spectacular. They can be small and quiet...like always saying a prayer when you put your Christmas tree topper in place, and then observing a moment of silence, or hiding a child's birthday presents instead of giving them to him/her outright, so that she/he has the fun of searching the house, knowing the s/he is looking for five presents...but s/he has to find them before s/he can open them.
Family Traditions, Customs and Celebrations is a compilation of just such traditions that were started in real families all over and perpetuated through the years. Most are unique to just one family; none is a universal, widespread, time-honored tradition. Most of these ideas will be new to you, though you are welcome to borrow them to use in your family.
The ceremonies in Family Ceremonies for Life's Occasions celebrate not only calendar holidays such events as birthdays but also life's major and minor milestones from moving into a new house to paying off the mortgage, from celebrating the birth of a child to celebrating an engagement; and yes, there are even ceremonies for such sad occasions as the death of a pet. Even the day that a child gets his/her first driver's license can be solemnized by a ceremony...and maybe that will help the teenager remember to take driving seriously and not drive carelessly or foolishly.
Naturally, I hope you'll buy both these books, but even if you don't want to, you can still write your own ceremonies and invent your own customs and traditions. The important thing to remember is that they make your family special, draw your family closer together, and weave lasting memories that will warm your kids' hearts long after they're grown. "My family was really neat! I remember from back when Iw as very little, my folks would always ____________."
What will your kids remember? What makes your family special? What sets your family apart from others and creates special days that really are special and not just an excuse for a day off from school or a chance to get presents? Does your child get to wear a birthday crown and sit in a place of honor at dinner on his birthday? Does your child get to choose the dinner menu when he brings home a good report card? Do you create a family New Year's Eve celebration by sharing favorite memories?
What will your children remember from their growing-up years? What memories are you creating?
It's never too late to start.
* * *
If you want to order either of these two books, you'll find them at http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=products_all&filter_author=36
Happy Holidays...all the holidays! From my house and my heart to yours.