How to Create the Perfect Family Tradition

When my husband and I first married, his daughter was just a little more than one. I come from a family that got together for any occasion at all; my husband’s family did Thanksgiving and Christmas.card+envelope+vintage+old+stained+isolated

That first year together, in an attempt to maximize our time with our parents and grandparents, as well as their time with my adorable new stepdaughter, we drove for two hours to his grandmother’s, then two hours in another direction to mine, then two hours back home.

We were exhausted, the kid was cranky, and we ate way. too. much.

Clearly, we needed to reevaluate how we handled traditional family get-togethers.

Over the years, we tried alternating years, alternating holidays, and visiting on different days and even doing Thanksgiving at Cracker Barrel to be “fair.” What we refused to compromise on was spending the day, wherever we were, together. I felt very strongly that my little family (that grew by two more adorable little girls over the years) belonged together. And I started to wonder if all the running around was really what Thanksgiving was about.

Turns out, it’s not. It is, though, all about the one thing I refused to compromise on: my family.

His grandparents are gone; my grandparents are too old to entertain (or travel–they prefer to hit Bob Evans); and my stepdaughter is an adult, who has been juggling families her whole life. So, a couple of years ago, I decided we weren’t going anywhere. Anyone who wanted could come to us, but I was preparing my first Thanksgiving dinner.
And they came. My parents, my brother and his family, my stepdaughter and her boyfriend, and us. I have never been the dinner party, entertaining person. But I adore putting out a huge dinner, serving dessert and hors d’oeuvres, and planning family activities. I think what I learned, with all the traveling and the stress, was that traditions are important. But flexibility is even more important. And the people you love? Most important ingredient of all.

[cryout-multi][cryout-column width=”2/3″]Try my Allrecipes.com’s Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole that I make every year and everyone loves! (Bonus–so easy! I’m all about easy).

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Photo from Allrecipes.com.

[/cryout-column][cryout-column width=”1/3″]Every comment is entered to win a copy of Bethanne‘s New Release from Entangled Publishing, Letters From Home, plus a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Photo above used with permission from Pixel Perfect Digital.[/cryout-column][/cryout-multi]

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

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5 Responses to How to Create the Perfect Family Tradition

  1. Jennifer Shirk says:

    I’m all about easy too!

    I alternate holidays with my brother and everybody flocks to his house or mine, but he usually gets Thanksgiving–which in my opinion is the HARDEST to host. There’s so much food to make!

  2. Bethanne says:

    this brough a little tear to my eye…
    The early years of our marriage were alot the same. We always went to everyone else’s house. They had the traditions, they were where the family gathered.

    But we were young and we had the youngest kids, and finally, I said…no. We can’t do it this year. It was time to make our own traditions. Not exhaust ourselves with too long travel!!

  3. Pingback: Family Traditions, Turkey Dinners, and Crazy Making Holidays

  4. Jennifer, my family has decided it’s so easy for me to make dinner, I do Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Plus, my husband’s parents come a weekend in December to “do” Christmas. It’s turned into it’s own monster, and I warned everyone last year, I was not doing all the cooking for every holiday this year. So, we’ve rented a cabin for Thanksgiving, lol. Flexibility!

    Aw, Bethanne, I’m so glad it resonated with you. It is hard to break those traditions, but then when your own family is at home while you prepare everything, it’s the best.

  5. Sutton Fox says:

    We used to travel too. I confess, I don’t miss it. The holiday season is our busy time at work, and that was just one more thing leading to exhaustion.

    Sounds like you’ve got a good plan for this year too. Hope you enjoy the cabin!

    I’m looking forward to trying the sweet potato recipe. I love them. 🙂

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