Thursday, 11 December 2014 01:44

Traditions We Treasure

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Family Storytelling, Traditions, DecorationsAt this time of year, most of us love the idea of traditions.  But sometimes, its hard to see the things you do as anything really special that will endure as a tradition with your own family.  If you've ever worried about that - we have a simple solution.

A few days ago I met a family who has this business of traditions figured out.  So much in fact, they have made it a business - a family business.  I was so impressed with what they are doing, I invited them to share their story with all of us here at Family Storytelling:

Traditions We Treasure

by Alicia Alba, Traditions We Treasure

Our mother loved to decorate for holidays, but she wanted to do more than just make the house beautiful. She wanted her decorations to convey the meaning behind the holiday and to be fun for her children. The house was bright with garlands and lights. She had Christmas decorations everywhere, but the centerpiece was the Christmas tree. Our whole family would sit beside it, bathed in light and scent, snuggled together while Dad or Mom read Christmas stories. Mom found and made several ornament sets that commemorated her most cherished stories, providing meaning as well as beauty every time we looked at the Christmas tree.

Family Storytelling, Traditions, Decorations


Family Storytelling, Traditions, Decorations

We grew up. As Christmas gifts, Mom recreated several of these meaningful ornament sets and gave them to each of her children as we married and moved out - a seed to start our own Christmas decorations for the next generation. Mom had taught us well, and we soon began collecting our own unique ornament sets to reflect our own experiences. She also continued to find ornaments that went along with our favorite Christmas books and activities and gave these newly created book sets to her children and grandchildren. These ornaments were placed in pretty packages beneath the tree along with the books that went with them - gifts to be re-opened and savored every year. Over the season, we read those stories and added the ornaments to the tree. Each of those ornaments, laden with meaning, made the tree special. As we gazed on them, stories and symbols and traditions were brought to mind throughout this special season.

As the years passed, the traditions grew in richness and variety, and we began talking about how much they meant to each of us. We decided to share these traditions with others, and our family business,Traditions We Treasure, was born. We made a list of the most magical, bond-building, Christmas-spirit-filled traditions from our childhood - everything from selecting the “perfect” Christmas tree and hanging the stockings to completing Advent activities and decorating gingerbread houses. We found the books we all loved as children as well as new stories that had touched our hearts over the years. Then we put it all together and created sets of stories and ornaments and activities to share with others.

As the month of December progresses, we intentionally find a little time each day to read a story, participate in a special activity, and hang ornaments to commemorate the event. Our children look forward to these special times of family togetherness in a season whose spirit can sometimes be lost in well meaning, but often time consuming, parties and concerts and bustle. Christmas is a precious opportunity to gather, love, and teach. We invite you to join us in purposefully taking a little time each day to establish meaningful traditions that will strengthen bonds and impart values that will go down through generations, knitting your family together over time and distance.

P.S. For those in Utah, Alisha and her sisters will be having their final Traditions We Treasure Holiday Open House at 394 East 4750 North in Provo, Friday, December 12 from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, December 13 from 10-6 p.m.. All are welcome to attend.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 15:56
Carol Rice

I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.

As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."

Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.

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