December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Holiday Non Traditions

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Growing up, my family was small, and my holiday memories consist of the following: Food. Presents. Menorah. Singing the Hanukkah candle prayers phonetically (“A share kitty shah new”) More food.

I grew up in the midwest so cold also goes along with most of my holiday memories.

Either because Hanukkah changes based on the Hebrew calendar, or because I’m from a small family, there was no one YEARLY SACRED FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITION(tm).

And yet that is exactly the holiday tradition I seem to have adopted into my own family. I grew up, got married, had five kids and started celebrating (not always in that order). At some point I appropriated Christmas, probably because it falls on the same day each year and most people I know celebrate it, so it’s easier to schedule. However, we rarely do the same thing every year. My parents live 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean while my husband’s family lives 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean — visiting anyone at this time of year isn’t always feasible. Our finances have changed somewhat, and so have my ideas about what kind of presents I want my kids to have (decreased, and from Craigslist, respectively).

Our holiday celebrations evolved. One year, I even had a baby on Christmas morning.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! And Cousin It!

I’m totally fine with having laissez-faire holiday plans. We get a tree and put up lights and ornaments. We send out holiday cards (usually pretty early). Other than that, my expectations are low. I want to enjoy the holidays, and I don’t want to feel pressure to do XYZ just because it’s TRADITION.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to live near my parents and have Christmas breakfast with them, or have Christmas eve dinner at My Chemical Romance’s grandparent’s house. But I’m just as happy to have New Year’s Eve open to finding something fun to do in our town, or if the kids want a sleepover, or whatever.

Or to celebrate Hanukkah.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.


18 Responses

  1. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  2. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  3. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  4. I like your attitude 😉 I do want special family traditions, but not at the expense of being flexible and relaxed! By the way – love that you have a Christmas baby. Ailia was born on Thanksgiving, which is a little different, but she can expect to have pumpkin pie with candles on it for awhile 😉
    ~Dionna @

  5. My brother was born 2 days before Christmas and they put him in a stocking when I met him. He wears that stocking every year and we take a picture of it. What a fun lassiez-faire post!

  6. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family's tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  7. I like the idea of adaptability and non-attachment to things just because they are “tradition”. I think as families, we make our own traditions, and sometimes that includes being non-traditional! I think it’s so cool you had a Christmas baby 🙂

  8. Cool that you had a baby ON Christmas!

    I like your idea of not getting overwhelmed by traditions. I’m pretty similar. I don’t want the holiday season to go by in a blur of trying to do X thing we did last year and the year before or, oh, noes, we’ll have failed our kids. My in-laws, however = exact opposite. I’m glad my husband didn’t inherit that gene. 😉

    Happy Hanukkah!

  9. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  10. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  11. We have times of the year our family tries to get together for family time, but really those times aren’t connected with any holiday. I think that makes it a little less stressful for us all. Our traditions really simple, like sunset on the beach together and going for moon walks.
    Thanks for your post!

  12. I hate feeling obligated to present presents for every kid in my extended family. We wind up NOT looking forward to the holiday. I enjoy our own household traditions, but not so much the outside-the-house stuff. My family is all local, so its hard to escape.

  13. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

  14. I love the no-pressure approach that you take! Growing up there were rituals we had to do year after year. As a parent I wanted to recreate some and create new ones, but recently I’ve felt like we are prisoners to the rituals. This year I’m not feeling it as much. There are some things we just aren’t going to do and that’s ok. Maybe I need to mix things up a bit and try new things (just no Elf of the Shelf – too much pressure!).

  15. Thank GOD for people like you, who make me feel like I’m not abusing my children by failing to create consistent eco-friendly handcrafted memories for them. Whew. And happy Hanukah!

  16. […] Holiday Non-Traditions — Erika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays. […]

Comments? Thoughts? Streams of Consciousness?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: