New Traditions

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


The fun part of becoming an adult, getting married, and starting a family is making new traditions. Sure I have fond memories of the traditions that my parents created, and some may transfer to my little family because it’s important to pass along heritage, family history and all that jazz.  Furthermore, the new traditions we begin now will be reflective of how we want to raise our own family.  My husband grew up in Germany, and we would like to implement German culture, foods, and language with some of the American traditions that I grew up with. A few of the holidays we haven’t even celebrated, to their full extent, as our daughter is only 1.

For Easter 2011, I’d like to try popovers as our morning tradition. I baked them in January (2010) and they were a hit, at least with my husband.


The first (of many?) attempt at making popovers

Every summer my family and I would take a vacation.  Of course, this is a great way for family bonding that we want to continue.  My husband’s family vacationed differently than mine did.  In Germany, his parents (particularly his dad) received a lot of vacation time from work.  They were able to take plenty of time to drive through Europe in a RV.  My parents didn’t earn as much vacation time, so our family trips were shorter in length, but we were still able to see many landmarks, beautiful national parks, even visiting extended family.  It’s really the balance that’s important as I just learned that my husband was annoyed with all the time that was spent traveling.

First family trip to Europe, seeing Loket in Czech Republic

We had success celebrating our daughter’s first birthday. I took a picture of her at 9:07 am, which was the time she was born. That can be easily made into a tradition. In fact, done! A new tradition has been born. A highlight of her party was the one-of-a-kind banner that I made her. Each paper flower featured a picture for every month during her first year of life. In years to come, I could even just add onto a banner featuring pictures (naturally, taken at 9:07 am) from her 1st-, 2nd birthday, etc.

flower banner, featuring 13 pictures

The winter holidays are upon us now.  Every Thanksgiving we visit my parents’ family. I have an urge to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house one day, but that won’t be brought up to my mom’s attention until the kid(s) are older.  For my family Thanksgiving celebrations, I want to include more gratitude instead of only focusing on the turkey dinner.

Christmas is a big one.  There are dozens of traditions from my childhood and thousands of suggestions on the blogosphere.  My mom designated the first Saturday in December to put up the tree. I like to see the tree up longer than that, so I’m tentatively having our trim-the-Christmas-tree-day be the last Saturday in November, immediately following Thanksgiving. I’m not in a hurry to take it down either. I grew up with an artificial tree, so I’m used to that.  My husband grew up with the real thing.  He went out to the forest, with his family, and cut down the tree himself.  The decision on whether to get a real tree or an artificial tree was easy, what wasn’t easy was deciding on which big, fancy pre-lit artificial tree to buy!

First year putting up our 7-foot 'fake' Christmas tree!

The beginning of this month marked a new advent countdown (an idea that I read from, where I wrapped 24 books and every evening we open and read one. Our daughter has already made strides in unwrapping the books. In the next few years, I can really customize this advent by making cloth bags with numbers 1-24 sewn onto them and eventually having all 24 books be Christmas-themed.


We are loosely planning on celebrating German customs on Christmas Eve and American (as we visit my family) on Christmas day. As far as New Year’s Eve, my family has only played board games and drank sparkling cider.  In Germany it’s common to have fireworks, but that’s not standard celebration here.  Every tradition has roots, mainly in the culture and customs in the localized area.  That’s one reason I feel it’s important to celebrate as many German traditions as possible.

One thing that my family didn’t establish, rather relied on school and church to do so, is service. I would like to do a family service thing, even if it’s just once a year. I’m thinking of a run/walk 5K (or similar) for MS or breast cancer awareness. We don’t have family members who deal with these, but they’re good causes to support.  I have a soft spot for visiting assisted living centers as I did this more than a few times in college (with classes and without).  Bottom line, being aware of neighbors in need would be a good lesson to teach.

Finally, as I’m rambling all my ideas and hopes for future traditions, I haven’t considered my child(ren)’s reactions. She will have ideas and opinions concerning these too. She will like some things, dislike other ideas, and come up with a few herself. Traditions are about bringing families together, so as long as we’re all together, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing.  If the ongoing additions to birthdays and holidays we choose for our family plant happy memories for our child(ren) to look back on, we have done our job well as parents.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

About fraurab

A Germanophile, who is figuring out how to build her strengths through improving her mind, body and soul.
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12 Responses to New Traditions

  1. Shannon says:

    This was great. I love the ideas you have and will be borrowing a few like the advent book (much better then my traditional chocolates) and the birthday photos. Really great ideas thank you for sharing.

    • fraurab says:

      Hi Shannon! Thanks for your kind comment! Chocolates are also good for advent! We’ll have to do both. I love pictures and the banner seemed to work great as both decoration and showing off her growth. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. RealMommy says:

    Such a sweet way to celebrate a birthday! Thanks for sharing your family’s developing traditions, it gives me more ideas for mine.

  3. Rachael says:

    Popovers for Easter, yum. One of our family traditions, which has developed more or less by accident, is to have waffles for breakfast Saturday mornings. It’s the only relaxed breakfast that we have together as a family each week. I do so love those waffles … but it also means there’s no time for popovers, which I also enjoy making. Maybe for Easter?

    And the banner idea is lovely. Thank you for sharing!

    • fraurab says:

      Thanks Rachel! Waffles or pancakes was my childhood breakfast too, but on Sunday. Popovers do take time. I think that my recipe says that I could prepare the batter, leave it over night and bake them in the morning (after the batter comes to room temperature). Thanks again for the compliment on the banner! :)

  4. fraurab says:

    Hi Luschka! Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe. The one that I used is from America’s Test Kitchen. :)

  5. I love your ideas in this post! They are brilliant :) What you call popovers we call Yorkshire puddings in the UK and Jamie Oliver has the BEST recipe for it you’ll ever find. I’ve never had a flop with it. Google it if you want to try a different recipe!

    I think the thing about traditions, and making them really meaningful is that they must come naturally. If a child doesn’t like a specific tradition, let it fall away, and build on them together to create the most special memories.

    Great post :)

  6. Lori Ann says:

    I’m planning on doing the birthday banner thing too! It’ll be a fun thing to gift when DD moves out on her own. I like your idea for having a bag for each of the books; I’d read the idea of wrapping them but wrapping paper isn’t widely available here, plus it just seemed like such a waste. But I would love to read a special book each day!

    • fraurab says:

      Thanks Lori Ann! A banner is nice because it shows how much a baby has grown! I’ve also seen them at high school graduation parties featuring every school grade picture. I put the banner from her first birthday into an album. Yes, the idea of wasting all that wrapping paper isn’t appealing, but I figured it’s once a year and it gives my 1-year-old an introduction into unwrapping gifts. The bags will be nice because of the environmental benefits, but it still gives the surprise effect.

  7. The birthday banner idea is so cute!! We instituted a “birthday week” thing with Kieran – he had something special almost every day this year for his birthday. Nothing overwhelming, just a small with mama and papa here, a fun outing there. I hope we can do it again next year!

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