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It was Christmas Eve 2011. As I crouched down on all fours, holding my pregnant belly, barely able to breathe because of the pain, I had one request for my husband: “Take our son and go get the Christmas Pizza!! And quick!” Reluctantly, he loaded the boy and himself into the car and drove off.

He had to, after all. It was family tradition. Damned if I was in labor! If this baby was really going to be born in the following hours we needed that Christmas Pizza this year more than we ever had before.

What Do Family Traditions Mean to You?

Barely able to breathe because of the pain, I had one request: Go get the Christmas Pizza! He had to, after all. It was one of our many family traditions.

Traditions are important family rituals that carry purpose and meaning. They give a family a sense of identity and emotional connectedness. Family traditions symbolize values we share and keep us connected during transition and conflict.

Kids who live in homes where family traditions are practiced are confident and resilient. In the face of whatever goes wrong in their life, they have family traditions to hold on to. Family traditions are comforting. They give us something to look forward to and to fall back on.

Family traditions can be big or small. In our family we have small daily traditions that we practice like eating dinner together, reading together at night, and saying prayers. We have weekly traditions like family game night, going to church together, and eating pancakes made by Dad on Saturday morning. We also have bigger, seasonal family traditions that center around holidays, birthdays, and vacations. We go camping every summer, we eat pizza on Christmas, and when a new baby is born we sing “Happy Zero-eth Birthday” to him or her and eat cake without any candles on it.

These family traditions are what make us unique as a family. They give our kids something to look forward to and something to count on. They give our kids a sense of identity, that belonging to our family means we walk to church on Sundays and go to Voodoo doughnuts after we visit the doctor’s office.

Reading: A Favorite Family Tradition

Many of our favorite family traditions are focused around reading books together. We always start our homeschool day by snuggling on the couch to read together. At night we read classics to the kids (The Indian in the Cupboard is one of their favorites) as they lie in their beds and relax.

Giving and receiving books as birthday and Christmas presents is the norm around our house. We even have special holiday books that we pack away with our holiday decorations. The kids are always thrilled to see their favorite Christmas and Easter books appear each season! In 2011 I bought the kids the Little Children’s Christmas Music Book. Every December we pull it out and the house rings with sentimental melodies as the kids take turns pushing the buttons.

This year my goal is to deepen our family library with more holiday books. It will be a family tradition to read these books together during the holidays and to add more books each year. I am going to start with Monsters Aren’t Real for Halloween and Christmas Stories for Little Children for Christmas. I’ll add more books as other holidays come. Will you join me? What books are on your list to add this year? What books will your family anticipate reading for years to come?

The Christmas Pizza

There is no doubt that traditions are vitally important in our families. Maintaining tradition was important enough to me to send my husband out for the Christmas Pizza while in the throes of labor! And you know what? Not only were we happy to have something to eat while we snuggled our new little baby, we were also happy to have held on to our family tradition that year. The story of the Christmas Pizza serves as a humorous addition to our daughter’s beautiful birth story as we traditionally tell her the story each Christmas Eve.

Barely able to breathe because of the pain, I had one request: Go get the Christmas Pizza! He had to, after all. It was one of our many family traditions.