My two sons, Malcolm (8 years) and Rowan (4 years) join me in the studio for two goofy shows about the fun things we do during the holidays. We share stories and play songs.
Part 1: Family Traditions on Family Matters: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16409283/54-part1-traditions%2012262010.mp3
Part 2: Stories and Songs on Kids’ Time: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16409283/54-Part2-KT-12262010.mp3
Aired live Sunday, December 26, 2010 8 to 9 AM Eastern Time on CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
A few weeks ago, I asked parents this question: What’s your favourite family holiday tradition? This is what they shared.
1. Sewing strings of popcorn and listening to the “Sesame Street Christmas” album.
2. Singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.
3. Making and eating Granny’s “hello dollies”. Watching the original “Miracle on 34th St.”, “Family Man”, and “Frosty the Snowman” videos. Listening to Christmas carols. Sitting by the glowing Christmas tree after decorating it with the kids. Listening to Stuart MacLean’s Christmas Story about Dave and the turkey! Gotta love it!
4. Every year my mom plays this medley of Christmas songs, by the Boston Pop Symphony. It’s a cassette tape and she still plays it as a cassette. We listen to it, decorate the tree, and sing along to the music. It’s so cheesy and it often plays for hours, even though the whole thing is only 45 minutes long.
But, we’ve done this since as long as I can remember and I love it. It is such a “tradition” that I can’t help but love it.
5. My oldest friend and I took our kids to a forest for a Winter Solstice hike and left seeds for the birds as we tromped in the snow and played with sticks. Afterwards, we had a play date with hot chocolate! I loved that afternoon. There was something extra-specially sacred about it!
6. Christmas music. My folks have a vinyl collection and kids music too. Watching “Snoopy and the Red Baron” and “Red Skelton” videos! When my Oma and Opa were alive, we would gather next door, at their house. There would be German music. We also used to listen to the “Silly Santa Watch” on the radio while driving to Guelph for Church on Christmas Eve. Food! There’s always great food!
7. We watch “How the Grinch stole Christmas”, “It’s a wonderful life”, Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, “AChristmas Story”, and “A Christmas Carol” videos. We sit quietly watching our newly lit tree…which is extra special because that kind of stillness and quiet is so rare in our house.
8. Home Made Shortbread cookies, without a doubt!
9. Christmas Dinner: tense, mellow, sad, joyous, friendly, confused, grateful, and that’s just how I’m feeling.
10. On Christmas Eve we watch “the Grinch”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” before my Mother’s family comes over to celebrate. My Uncle and Cousin always play Christmas songs, some of which are ones we made up long ago, while we all sing using our funny falsetto voices. Then, we open gifts, stay up way too late, place faery gifts under the small potted evergreen for the next morning when small children wake us up too early. After opening gifts, my twin siblings pass out on the couch and we photograph them wearing funny things on their heads. Whether we build snow people or not depends on the year.
11. There’s something about “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas.
12. New traditions are being made this year, very scary.
When something in the year throws traditions off, that can feel quite scary. It seems traditions offer something to look forward to, a sense of rest or certainty. When they’re not there, that shakes us up. If you’re experiencing that sort of transition, I wish you all the best.
13. We have a family Christmas craft time and make something new to hang on the Christmas tree. We started doing this when our oldest was 2 years old, so some of our decorations are over 14 years old now. We fill shoe boxes with gifts to send off to “Operation Christmas Child”. T makes ‘snowballs’ to drink with dinner. We have ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ breakfast pancakes with ice cream and candles on Christmas day. Fun times with friends. Tobogganing (ie., sledding). Toasting toes in front of a wood fire. Hot cocoa with marshmallows. Snow people and fort building. We are hoping to build a rink in the back yard this year and maybe start a new tradition. We’ll see how that goes.
14. Singing Christmas Carols for weeks leading up to the New Year. Watching the light show at the park. Riding the Carousel at the Park on Christmas Eve. Candlelight dinners. Dancing in the dark with flashlights and glow in the dark jewelry. Playing games and doing puzzles. Tobogganing (ie., sledding). Potluck dinners with friends.