Sunday, November 16, 2008


Saas Fee
I was talking with a fellow new mom friend recently and she mentioned this idea she had of buying her daughter a piece of vintage jewelry every year at christmas, so that when she's grown she'll have a whole collection. I thought that was so neat. With the holidays coming up quick, and D's first birthday less than 3 months away now, it definitely got me thinking about traditions, and which ones I want to start for D, and for this new family unit of ours.

Christmas has always been spent with my parents. Zach and I are extremely lucky in that both our parents live not only in the same city, but within 2 miles of each other. This means that it's no problem for us to have the traditional christmas morning presents-opening-followed-by-gargantuan-brunch-prepared tradition that's been going on for years, and then head over to his folks' for a smaller, quieter celebration in their own traditional styling. Last year was actually the first time either of us has ever spent christmas away from our parents, and that was because I was 7 months pregnant and living in Europe. We will be in Texas once again this year for the holidays, and I'm so psyched to have Donovan around this time-- I've been picturing him sitting at the base of the tree with us christmas morn, ripping up the wrapping paper, for months. Christmas is the one holiday when everyone in our family (and that's a lot of people, folks) gets together, so I am fairly certain we'll continue celebrating it there and thus that will continue to be our holiday time customs.

But them, there's D's birthday. I know, I know, he won't remember a thing about this first birthday. But I will. And I can't help but think back on my own past birthdays, and wonder about what I want D's birthday memories to be. As far back as I can remember, for every birthday where I have been staying at my mom's house, I've been woken up on my birthday morning by my mom singing happy birthday, with at least a few of my birthday presents sitting at the foot of my bed, waiting to be opened. Looking back I realize how special these memories are to me, and how great it was to always start each birthday with a bang, even on days when school, work, and life in general might have made it easy to forget or brush aside.

I also think of the montessori birthday celebration, where you place something to symbolize the sun in the middle of a circle, and then have the child hold a globe and walk around the "sun" in a circle one ime for each year or their life, as their teacher or parent reads a few words about each year. I've seen this done many times in different schools, and LOVE the idea... though I wonder how well it would go over when D's 15 and would need to do 15 laps. ; ) Either way, whether it's the same tradition my mom kept with us or something new, I want to find something, even just a little 5 minute something, that we can comit to always doing at every birthday, on the actual day no matter when a regular party might be happening (at the party we will, of course, sing the 3 traditional family birthday songs, a tradition started by my grandmother, which will be passed on to this next generation. But, again, that's at the actual birthday party).

Ohmygosh, and I almost ended this post without mentioning what is probably my mom's most famous birthday tradition, the cake. As far back as I can remember, I've had bunny rabbits and teddy bear cakes, made by my mom. As we got older and she more creative and bold, we've had all sorts of other cakes-- Hello Kitties galore for my sister, school mascots, the groom's cake she made for our wedding, she even made me an amoeba cake for the semester in college when I took an insanely hard biology course (she actually modeled the cake after a picture in my textbook). She makes these using only square, rectangular, and round cake pans, then cuts and shapes the pieces as needed, using frosting as the "glue." I know I've taken pictures of each of these cakes and have them all stored somewhere, though unfortunately not easily accessible for sharing in this post. I always look forward to what mom's gonna pull off at each family birthday. This is one tradition I expect to take on myself, and am already trying to figure out what to shape D's first birthday cake into.

So to the moms and dads out there, what birthday/holiday traditions have you started/kept going with your kids? I'd love to hear others' ideas.

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