I love traditions. I grew up with a lot of tradition in my life, particularly around the holidays and I still treasure all those memories. I want our kids to grow up with that same sense of tradition and will be the first to admit that I am very intentional about finding new ways to create tradition with our little family.
Even in the four short years we have been on Hillside Lane, I am already seeing our traditions take root and grow. That’s the thing with tradition – it isn’t stagnant. It evolves and grows and each year those roots reach deeper and the branches longer until you’ve built this incredibly strong foundation where family memories are made. We are just at the beginning of that journey, but I am already beginning to see the richness in these layers.
I always enjoy decorating for Christmas. I feel like it makes our little house glow with warmth. Part of decorating is really about tradition as well. It’s that one time a year that we get to bring out our ornaments and stockings and all those little details that you look forward to all year long. The other fun thing about this is that the decorations seem to grow each year with new additions – new parts of the tradition to look forward to for years to come.
Jim the Elf was back again this year. This tradition is by no means exclusive to our family, but like so many other families, it has become such a fun tradition on Hillside Lane. Jim definitely played more of the “watchful eye” role this year. We often reminded Luci that Jim was watching so she needed to listen/eat her dinner/stop whining/insert any issue that might arise or cause a time out. Regardless, Luci bounded out of bed each morning ready to find Jim and then she would tell anyone who would listen where she had found him. Her enthusiasm for him is unending.
It was our third year of doing the Lizenbergs’ Lights Night and definitely the best one yet. The kids got all ready in their Christmas jammies. We popped popcorn, turned on the Christmas tunes (after Luci’s request of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music) and headed out to look at the lights. Luci was SO into it this year. She will tell you that her favorite was the Santa Claus whose pants were falling down. Lovely. I laughed because it all started out so well but ended with Henrik crying because he was tired and hungry and by 6:30pm he is totally over everything – tradition or otherwise. Luci was then crying because Henrik was crying and as we tried to make our way up Sheridan Rd. for the last part of the lights tour I looked at Dris – at this point from the back of the car trying to console these two – and was like, we need to go home. Luckily the first 3/4ths of the night were perfect and made the meltdowns worth it.
We had our now 2nd annual Hackney’s night as a family. The Hackney’s tradition came about very spontaneously and really wasn’t meant to be anything more than just a dinner out (because I didn’t want to do dishes the night before Christmas Eve). We had such a good time though that we couldn’t wait to make our reservations for this year. Despite the waitress forgetting about us and trying to keep a tired 8-month old and a wiggly 3-year old at bay, it was definitely worth it. Last year when we went we were a family of three. This year our reservations were for four.
The list could go on. We went on a family outing to get our tree at Home Depot (clearly not the most romantic of traditions), made Christmas cookies (and blueberry muffins – Luci’s choice for Santa this year), snuggled in Christmas blankets, went to Mass at St. Joan’s, had grilled cheese and bacon on Christmas Day, added a couple new bottles of wine to our “collection” as our gift to each other and celebrated with the most special family and friends in our lives.
These traditions will undoubtedly grow and the layers will build; and years from now we may recall with great fondness the meltdowns on Lights Night or trying to juggle two little ones at a dinner out or the wonder sparked when Jim the Elf was found in someplace new. Our family and the traditions we share make us rich beyond measure and the process of adding layers to these things we hold so dear is where the joy in the season is found.