This had long since been the tradition in our house. Which isn't too bad when you're six or even eleven. But guess what? When we were all looking at my teenage brother in footie pajamas that clung to his no longer childlike body like a wetsuit, and watched him shift nervously and then--not too subtly-- cover his toolbox with his hands, it finally registered that these things may have an expiration date. And this one had perhaps outlived it's shelf life. We were no longer children. In fact, I had children of my own.
I didn't blame her for wanting to try to keep the tradition alive; after all, what's the harm in receiving pajamas, right? Well, let's do a quick check. Did we ever wear them again after that one night? No, not often. Were they usually uncomfortable (physically)? Yes. Were they usually uncomfortable (to be seen in, even by other members of the family)? Yes. Was it probably a waste of money? Yes, well at least the last 10 yrs anyway. But did it make my mom happy to give them to us? Absolutely. Which is why we hung with it long into adulthood, much to the chagrin of my husband, who complained of an abnormally sweaty nether region whenever he wore the holiday nighttime ensemble. These days, my mother's other holiday traditions, including everyone watching A Christmas Story, playing a board or card game and slurping some cocoa, are still in full force.
I don't think you can head into this time of year without thinking about traditions past (I have even carried on a version of the pajama tradition with my own children). But I think it's also time for us to think about and establish some new traditions. Traditions that will be special to us and carry my kids through their childhood with great fondness and a sense of family, knowing that time is ticking away with our crew... and especially now that we've settled into the house.
There have been things I have been doing already that can still be incorporated, like making snowflakes with the boys and hanging them up, and the boys--and I--love it, so we will continue with that one for sure. And we always decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving (because we use an artificial tree), which I'm not sure really counts as tradition. As of now, we each contribute, but in random shifts. So maybe I'll add some things to make it feel more like a tradition, like playing Christmas music and nibbling cookies while we all help to decorate together. Yeah, I like it. I think we'll do that this year.
And although we have an artificial tree, I think I'd like to go and pick up a couple of fresh wreaths and make that a regular annual holiday outing. I have to dig around to see where we might go.
I've also seen some really cute ideas floating around for advent calendars, and I want to do one for the little ones, but I would especially love to be able to still incorporate something for the older two as well. I adore this one: