A New Family Tradition

One of the best parts of Christmas is taking part in a family tradition.

Over the years, we have had many family traditions. Some we have kept and others we haven’t.

A picture of a people in front of a christmas tree. Beside the picture are the words A new Christmas Family Tradition

One thing that does not change is the need to shop for gifts. For me, this is the most stressful part of Christmas.

I know some people love to shop…… But, I don’t understand those people because I hate to shop.

So having to go to stores to purchase gifts for Christmas is a living nightmare.

When we first got married, we were both working and had some money, so we went and got all our family members gifts and we got each other gifts as well.

But then, we had a child, and I stayed home and my husband was working a minimum wage job. We had very little money for daily living, let alone an extravagant Christmas.

A fresh idea for a family tradition

One year, my father had an idea. He realized we were just purchasing gifts for the sake of buying gifts. He and my mother had no needs and told us they no longer wanted us to buy them presents.

What they wanted instead was for us to take some time and write up a page of what had happened to us and our family over the last year.

We were to write up our reviews and then read them to each other at a family meeting.

At first, I was not sure what to think. But I soon came to love the idea. Writing about my year was so much cheaper than buying my family gifts. But the other part of me was sad that telling each other about our year would fall flat.

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A new Family Tradition

Writing and sharing our year in review has now become one of my favourite family traditions.

Every year my parents ask us to take some time and write out some highlights from the year.

That is the only direction- how we write it up is up to us. As long as we have something to share, my parents are happy.

Once we have all written our review we will schedule a family meeting at my parent’s house in Ottawa and read to each other our year in review.

This sounds easier than it is. When we first started this, all 6 of us lived in the same city and could just meet at my parent’s house and share what we wrote. But, over the years, we have not always all been in the same city.

How we make it work

My younger brother spent a few years in England and then in South Korea. My younger sister moved to Toronto, and then my husband and I moved to Edmonton. Meeting together each year in person has not worked out.

But, no matter where we are, we have always been able to make our family meeting work. Thanks to technology use Skype to connect with each other.

I have always enjoyed hearing how each of my siblings summarizes their year. Since living across the country, I don’t always know what goes on in their lives, so this meeting is a way for us to connect with each other.

I have to say, that hearing about my family’s year has been amazing. Instead of collecting toys or useless gifts, we are collecting our family history. My dad collects all of our writings and puts them in a document.

Looking to the future

I look forward to the day, 20 years from now we can look back and read about our collective experience.

Not only is it cheaper and stress-free, but it has also been the most meaningful experience for me and something I look forward to every year.

In the comments below share, the most special things do you do as a family at Christmas.

2 responses to “A New Family Tradition”

  1. Lori Ferguson Avatar

    What a lovely idea, Anne! Your parents are wise. 🙂 And it will be a treasure as the years go by…

    We have a family tradition we do each year in the holiday season. We call it “plates”. My husband started this tradition when we moved from Canada to the USA in 2000. Our kids were 11 and 15 at the time.

    We use paper plates and draw a rendition of our year in images and words with markers. When finished we take turns explaining our drawings. We have 16 “Plates” each, and it’s a wonderful experience going through each of our plates to see what life was like all through those years.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar
      Anne Markey

      That sounds like a great tradition. When our family first did this there was some push back, but now we all love it and its a great way to look back

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