“The family is ordained of God. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” (The family, a Proclamation to the World)
If you want something to be special, you have to make it so.
Growing up in my family of 6 kids, my mother made home a delight! Christmas was especially her forte and she mastered it beautifully. Every inch of the house was decked, Christmas carols filled the house constantly, and there was much baking to finish for friends we’d soon carol to. Often she was exhausted, but she pressed on to create memories our family would always cherish.
As the years went on, I saw a quote in her office on a flip calendar she made to remind herself: “Traditions are to BLESS, not STRESS.” What wisdom and balance that sentence requires. I have received this great love of Christmas, fun, traditions and memories from my mother, and I relish this joy! However, all of the fun, traditions, and memories are made from time together as our best gift to one another. Love is really spelled T-I-M-E. My children quickly forget a couple of small presents they receive, but they treasure the memories they are making of snowmobiling in the backyard as a family, of hot cocoa by our old wood burning fire, of taking soups to families, of telling Christmas stories by the tree at night, and yes…..we are carolers, because we love music, people and goodies!
Begin now, or stick with, a tradition that is meaningful to you. You may not be a musical family who loves to carol, fantastic! Maybe you are the take-your-neighbor-to-the-movies family or the driving-around-to-see-Christmas-lights family, or the game-playing family. Whatever you love as a family—DO!
One tradition we enjoy each year, to ramp up our love and service in our home, is ‘Secret Service Elves.’ We have a beautiful small Santa sled full of little elves in our family room. As we go about our day, whenever we see an opportunity to serve someone, we do it secretly, then leave an elf behind to let the person know we served and love them. For instance, the other day my 4-year-old son saw that somebody had made his bed and left an elf on it. He quickly ran and got another elf to go find something nice to do for someone else. This simple tradition has brought a little extra light, love and Christ-like service into our home.
I invite you to ponder as a couple or family: what brings you joy? What will you spend your time doing together to create a lasting memory of love? Remember that traditions are meant to bless, not stress! So bless away!!!
P.S. I’d love to hear your new or old traditions, please SHARE them in the comments!
In light and love,
MORE IDEAS to light your family this week:
- Call (not text) your parents.
- Have a family prayer.
- Take each of your children on a one-on-one activity.
- At dinner, tell each person why he or she is loved.
- Is there a family member you haven’t talked to lately? Call him or her.
- Write a handwritten note to your parents or in-laws.
- Do chores with your family around your parents’ home.