During the holidays, I find our schedule jam-packed with traditions. Families and friends, as well as the community, seem to come together like no other time of year to celebrate. Getting caught up in the festivities of the season adds to the excitement, and as a parent, I find myself even more committed to both continuing old traditions, as well as incorporating new ones. We cut down our tree together, take a million imperfect family photos, and play Christmas music all day. I get together with my girlfriends at our favorite restaurant and exchange Christmas ornaments. My family decorates sugar cookies with friends and sucks the frosting right out of the piping bags! There are holiday performances and programs and toy drives. I love it all – especially listening to my girls chatter and remember stories from those same traditions in previous years.
One of my favorite memories from my childhood was seeing my cousins and grandparents for Christmas, and it makes me sad that we don’t live close enough to some of our relatives for my girls to build those same memories with their relatives. But last year, my sister-in-law started a new tradition between the siblings in my husband’s family – a cookie tin family tradition. She came across a cookie tin that had been in the family when they were young children and wanted to share it between the kids. The tin gets filled with cookies and goodies and is shipped to the next sibling. When that family finishes the treats, they fill it and send it on to the next family. Isn’t it great? I love how perfect this tradition is, particularly for families who live far apart and are unable to celebrate together during the holidays.
I want to encourage you to start a new tradition in your family this year. If you have a family keepsake that you can incorporate into the tradition, great! If you’d like to start a cookie tin tradition, and you don’t happen to havethe cookie tin from your childhood, why not pick up a new one and make it something special from here on out? And don’t worry about filling it with just the right thing. Make your favorite new recipe, toss in some nuts or mandarins, package up coffee or tea – it can be filled with anything!
It was exciting to open the tin when it arrived from my husband’s brother – to see what he was baking and to find a fun note! We then included a variety of cookies in our tin when it was time to send it on. I added some cashews, ribbon candy, and fruit. It didn’t take long at all to put together, and now the tin is on its way to my husband’s sister!
I’m grateful to my sister-in-law for creating this special tradition, so the distance between us doesn’t impede our ability to spread love and joy to one another.
What holiday traditions are your favorite? Do you create new traditions or stick to your favorites? And what do you do to feel close to family and friends that live far away when so much of “tradition” is tied to being with our loved ones?
This post is part of the Favorite Holiday Traditions series, sponsored by Betty Crocker Cookies.