Because we travel so much, we try to make certain family traditions unchangeable in our house. The holidays are a perfect time for traditions. This makes whatever 'craziness' in our lives feel much more normal.
We make sure at least for now that we are HOME for Christmas. We can travel prior to Christmas and we can travel after Christmas but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are sacred for us and they are spent (for now) at HOME! When I was a little girl we lived in a city where I didn't have grandparents close by. So at the holidays we tended to travel just after Christmas or even for Christmas. Those holidays when we weren't home in our house seemed a bit odd, different, not right. We decided that at least until the kids are much older that this holiday would be spent at home and so far we have succeeded in making sure that happens.
For our kids, this may not even make any difference to them. They are pretty flexible kids. Last year for example we traveled to Disney World prior to Christmas. Our intent was to get back on December 24th. But while we were there a big cold front hit the East Coast and Richmond was covered in 19 inches of snow. This began to concern us that we wouldn't be able to get back home in time. We might have traveling issues, although we drove our 4WD to Florida we might have icing issues, road closures due to other accidents, etc. We began to prepare for an alternative plan. As flexible as our kids are they do much better with a plan, and one that we stick with. So we began to talk about maybe not making it home in time for Santa. We talked that Santa would come anyway to our house and not to where we were. We talked about possibly getting hom on Christmas Day. Once the kids knew that we had a plan then all was fine. We decided not to go into the park on Dec 23rd, as planned for the morning, but to begin to head on early again not knowing what we would encounter. As it turned out we ended up driving all day long and we actually arrived home that evening around 9:30. We didn't hit any bad weather, poor roads, or traffic until we were just outside of our city and the roads were just wet at that point.
The holidays are so filled with tradition for us. The visit to Santa, the REAL Santa! Decorating the Christmas Tree, hanging the stockings, and sending Daddy down to see if Santa came on Christmas Morning as we all wait (not so) patiently at the top of the steps. Watching the Thanksgiving Day parade as Mom makes waffles and bacon. Going to a grandparent's house for dinner and then, for me, shopping the next day at the great sales.
But the holidays are not the only times when we have traditions. Going to the beach in the middle of the winter, bringing Lucy the witch down from the attic for Halloween, and even those lazy hammock times in the summer are traditions for our family. Picking the dinner on your birthday.
What traditions do you all have in your family? Anything special you do with the kids?