It’s never too early to start family traditions

I’ve been thinking about a comment a reader made on my Happier at Home review a while back. I mentioned that although I loved Gretchen Rubin’s decision to create holiday traditions for her family, it didn’t seem very applicable to me and The Hubby right now as it’s currently just the two of us.

Reader Rae commented:


Like you, I have few uses for the children-centered topics in these books. But the one thing we should take from them is the value of creating rituals.

Especially around the holidays Jamie and I have created many rituals over the years. When we lived in Southern California we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain every Christmas Eve. The park is open and empty. We’d ride every single roller coaster, some of them twice, and be done in less than 3 hours.

Then we’d stay the night at the Hyatt and enjoyed the fabulous Christmas Eve buffet.

This type of ritual stops when the kids come, but can be looked back upon when infant duty (doody?) finally arrives.

Are you and hubby and BD and LD creating any rituals?

In addition to giggling at her doody joke (yeah, clearly I’m not mature enough to be a parent yet!), and loving the fact that she gave Big Dog and Little Dog acronyms, Rae made a great point that made me look at things differently.

I’d been focusing on the kinds of traditions I wanted to pass down to our kids when we have them, not thinking that The Hubby and I should create some traditions of our own, just for the two of us, while it is still the two of us.

What we’ve got so far

So, since I’ve determined to focus on merry, festive things this holiday season, I decided to take stock of the traditions we’ve already created in the years we’ve been together. I was surprised to realize we actually have quite a few:

  • The Hubby’s family is Polish/German, and he introduced me to the tradition of “hiding the pickle” every year. (I know…It sounds scandalous, but check out the link.) So for our first Christmas living together, I got him a glass pickle ornament which we take turns hiding each year. Since that means the other person has a 100% chance of finding it, it’s not quite the way it’s supposed to go, but it’s still fun. And when we have kids, I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of it.
  • We always, always watch Elf when we decorate the Christmas tree. It never fails to put us both in the Christmas spirit. (“You sit on a throne of lies!”)  🙂
  • We fill each other’s stockings with silly, Dollar Store items…the sillier the better. As great as The Hubby is at getting me wonderful presents, I have to say secretly I kind of like the stocking opening better.
  • The Hubby always, always insists we open our presents at 12:01 a.m. Christmas morning, which we do in our PJs with a warm mug of something yummy. (This midnight tradition will not be carried on when young children are involved.)
  • Big Dog and Little Dog are, of course, in on the action with their own gifts. Little Dog has more fun tearing the wrapping paper off (of course I wrap them!), while BD usually just waits for LD to come open his present for him. (At which point he usually trots off with LD’s present. Eventually they straighten things out.)

What traditions have your family (with children, or just the two of you) developed?





photo credit:  merwing✿little dear


  • I’m baffled that you can get even one of your pooches to unwrap things! We have to unwrap miss Freya’s presents for her!

    The boyfriend and I never plan on having children so all our traditions are about us. Every year we watch A Muppet Christmas Carol together (its our fave!) and we have some sort of advent calendar. The past few years our advent has consisted of writing love notes to each other each day, this year its a bunch of christmassy activities to do each day. I came up with a bunch of short ones and more time intensive ones (wrote a little s or L on the back) and put them in based on how much time we’d have each day. Tonight we’ll be eating cinnamon sugar toast by the fire and listening to christmas music after I get home from work. 🙂

    • The little one loves tearing things to shreds, so for him, ripping the paper to shreds is more fun than the present itself most of the time. (Just like kids that play with the box more than the toy!)

      I LOVE your advent idea…what a great way to incorporate all sorts of holiday traditions and activities and to make sure you slow down and really enjoy all the great things about the holidays, in spite of how hectic this season gets. I just may have to steal that idea from you. 🙂

  • Em! I’m absolutely kvelling that MY comment about your review of the Gretchen Rubin book would inspire you to write an entire post!

    Can we keep that I blog under another name just between you and me, okay? I have this fantasy that I’m “anonymous” when I use Grey Logan and also it frees me to share super-embarrassing stuff. Thanks.

    Anyway, you’ve inspired me so much and I had to tell you! I started copying your use of “Hubby” very, very quickly.

    Can I just say that when Blonde and Balanced is in my in-box at work I smile. You make me smile and today you made my day.

    Love Always,
    Your Biggest Fan,
    Grey Logan (Reader Rae)

    • “Grey”:

      Aw, thank you so much! Your comment made ME smile!

      Do you want me to edit out the “Rae” bit from the post and put your alias instead?

  • we`ve always lighted a advent candle for each of the four prior sundays before christmas eve. We have a christmas calender, which can be filled with candies, small gifts etc, which makes counting down the days a lot funnier! I always watch an old czecho-slovakian Cinderella movie dubbed in Norwegian on Christmas Eve. I make christmas treats while listening to christmas music. My familly`s dogs get their own christmas gifts, which we put under the tree a couple of hours before the rest, and watch how they sit patiently waiting alongside the tree 🙂

    • Wow, your dogs are MUCH more patient than mine! We have to hide their gifts until we’re ready to give them to them, because otherwise there will be a tearing frenzy!

  • I love this post becuase it’s so true. For the last 10 years I have been travelling home for the holidays but three years ago my family had a huge falling out. Now I stay put during the holidays and I have started making new traditions with my friends and my boyfriend. Happy Holidays Em!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your falling-out, but I’m glad you’ve found a positive way to create traditions of your own. Happy Holidays to you, too!

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