Family traditions are part of what make you who you are. It’s the things that are important to you, and the celebrations that mean the most to you. This is one of the reasons why it can be so hard getting married and blending your family with someone else’s.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone has the same traditions. Naturally when you get married, you begin new traditions with your spouse knowing that everything your family did was right, and everything their family did was wrong. In spite of that, some concessions have to be made.
1) Out with the old
Some traditions are lost, completely gone. I used to love Easter ham, and dying eggs. However my husband does not like ham, and I’m the only one in my family who eats hard boiled eggs. I used to go to church every Easter (well technically every Sunday) and that has also changed.
There are some things you let of reluctantly. Other things you are happy to be done with. It’s sad to me that my daughters have never dyed Easter eggs. However as my husband does not ask that I go to church with him ever, including holidays, I make the concession and don’t push holiday traditions he dislikes.
2) In with the new
Some of the traditions that have been affected by my husband have involved removal of traditions. Others don’t yet require adjustment on my part, but I know it will in the future. My husband’s family has large gatherings for many holidays. I don’t do well with large gatherings, even when it is family. I know it’s strange. I come from a large family, but I don’t do well with people. Someday we will be in the same country as our families, and we will make arrangements, at least occasionally to be there for these big gatherings.
3) Working hard
Keeping up with traditions is hard work. There are preparations to make, shopping to do, cooking, and cleaning. It can be exhausting, especially when it is primarily your job to keep things going. Maybe it’s this way with everyone, but somehow in my house all of the traditions fall on me no matter whose family it started in. I might argue that his traditions are not my problem, but realistically, I’m too tired from getting the traditions going.
4) Keeping secrets
I loved Santa as a child. And the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, leprechauns, everything. I loved it. However, as a parent I hate it. I’ve been sneaking around trying to buy things without the kids seeing for years now and I am done. I try to find places to hide them that is both inconspicuous and easy for me to get to. You want to make it fun, surprising, and special, but also not so important it destroys their world when they find out it was just for fun. We do them, because I want my kids to have the memories I have, but sometimes I wish desperately for my kids to know the truth. I think my twelve year old knows its not real, but she doesn’t ask. I think she is afraid that as soon as she admits she knows, the fun is over. If she asks she will learn the truth of my family tradition; I got both an Easter basket and stocking until I was eighteen years old and moved out. Just because you know it was a lie, doesn’t mean the tradition has to die.
Of course, some of the secrets we choose to leave to other families. We do not, and will not do that elf on the shelf crap. I teach my kids if a toy starts moving on its own it is possessed; you salt and burn the toy and douse the site with holy water. If it persists, no matter what religion you are, you call a priest. We don’t do risk that demon nonsense in my house.
5) They’re still worth it.
After all the work, all the stress, the sleepless nights getting things ready for the next day, the smile on your child’s face makes you willing to do it all again the next holiday.
For all of you who were deeply curious, I am proud to say I survived Lent! The lack of chocolate was touch and go for a bit this last week, but I pushed through. I suppose for full disclosure, I had two slips; once I accidently bought a bottle of mocha coffee instead of vanilla and didn’t notice until halfway through, and two days ago I had a pinch off my daughter’s white chocolate covered waffle in Antwerp, just to taste it. Tomorrow I think I’ll start a add in follow up, but I will write more on that later. Today, my kids are waking up.