'Meaning hides in repetition: We do this every day or every week because it matters. We are connected by this thing we do together. We matter to one another.' Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne, p.98
This quote can reference the everyday little things we do but I also think it applies to the traditions we repeat year after year and become the memories of our home life.
December in our home is quite full because in addition to the normal Christmas shenanigans both my children's birthdays fall in December within four days of each other. I find having strong traditions is comforting to the children because of the familiarity. It also helps me out because, it means I have a framework and don't need to think of loads of new things each year. I thought it might be useful to share some of what we do.
With the birthdays- we mainly draw from the Waldorf/Steiner philosophy.
- It starts with a poem that we read the birthday child as we are putting them to bed the night before, I'v written it below.
- We set the table up in the evening with a gold ribbon leading from the bed to their chair.
- They have a birthday crown
- I have a picture of them from each year of their life starting on the day they were born, laid out with the presents.
- They get to choose whatever they would like to do that day- for M we went to Moors Valley country park and did the play trail this year.
- That evening I read their rainbow story to them which tells how they crossed the rainbow bridge to earth and then a little bit about their life each year, I continually add to it. If you google Waldorf rainbow story you can see loads of great examples.
- Finally we each share a wish for the birthday child's coming year.
We value, simplicity, handmade gifts, days out and experiences with all celebrations but especially with birthdays.
Now moving onto Christmas, one of the most magical times of the year, but again a time that benefits from simple yearly traditions.
Food has to come high in the pecking order. Every year we make copious amounts of mince pies and German Christmas cookies to accompany special tea times on Sundays when we light our advent candles. We give sweet treats to our neighbours and buy extra food to give to the food bank. Its a time for sweets and spice and all things nice.
Decorations are another favourite tradition. We don't bring in and decorate the tree until the 24th, but we always go for a walk prior to forage for greenery to do our wreaths and garlands. We also do night walks to see every bodies lights, Salisbury cathedral area is absolutely stunning this year.
As a family we draw from Marcus's German heritage a lot as well as Waldorf/Steiner. I love the richness and repetition.
Here are some of the resources I find particularly useful: