I recently read this article about Friday night meatballs and fell in love with the idea. It isn’t a groundbreaking concept, but I love the story, the pictures, the motivation behind it, the behind-the-scenes details, the logistics, the reflections.
I have this rather strange obsession with starting traditions. I think it’s because we actually didn’t have many growing up, and I was always so envious of those families that had legit rituals, both small and large, such as “pizza and wings on Fridays” or “new pajamas every Christmas.” My family, for being as close and tight-knit as we are, just aren’t big on hard and fast rules of any kind, really. Sure, some things happen similarly from week to week or Christmas to Christmas, but it is more out of ease and convenience than tradition. I think when your family is composed of over-accommodating, laid-back adults, traditions feel like boundaries, or limitations, and so there’s a kind of tendency to live much more spontaneously and liberally. PS: My mom can regularly be found stressing out at the grocery store for the mere reason of “how am I supposed to know what I’ll want to eat in two days?!?!” Expecting everyone to get together on Sunday evenings is demanding and inflexible in its very nature.
And somehow, I came out of the entire thing craving just that: immovable, reliable plans that everyone looks forward to and wouldn’t dream of straying from (FYI: my family and Jon are always ripping on me for this reason and other related ones: i.e. my constant forcing of sleepovers, my demand to see everyone all the time, my scheming to get everyone to commit sooner/arrive earlier/leave never). Because that's what's most fun about traditions; the fact that everyone involved is "in" on it. Everyone is part of it. Right? In fact, I’m constantly telling my mom to be more demanding of us kids and our time, less understanding of our hectic schedules over the holidays, and more pushy with organizing plans. And I can remember being little and saying things like “but we always get to open up one present on Christmas Eve. It’s tradition” after, say, two years in a row of randomly doing it, and my mom kind of being like “Huh? It is?” - haha
Not to completely digress, but I also used to label every single physical object in my room with a label maker stamped with my initials or name on it. And make lists of every single thing I wanted to accomplish in a day, starting with “wake up.” And divide my markers by color and store them inside my winter boots lined up against my wall. And plan out (on paper), weeks ahead, what pajamas I wanted to wear to bed Christmas Eve, so that I’d feel most cozy and spirited when I awoke on Christmas morning. I may or may not have a control problem. I may or may not be a planner who likes to commit to things. And I may or may not be a loser :)
So there’s that. That’s me in a nutshell (P.P.S: could I be any more different from my mom in this way?)
The beauty of it, though, is that I can start whatever traditions I want for my own family with Jon and any additional numbers by which it grows in coming years, as well as our friends. I can be as demanding and inflexible as I damn-well please when it comes to weekly meals together or unbendable holiday traditions :) - but all with the intention of creating something meaningful.
And I can’t wait!!
That might be my very favorite, and most authentic dream, that I’ve had about our new house. I love the idea of a blank slate, of starting new traditions from day 1, month 1, year 1, etc. I can’t wait to tie myself, our family, our friends, and our house to these traditions and rituals in hope that everyone involved loves, values, and feels a part of them as much as I know I will. It makes me ridiculously excited, actually.
I love hearing about other people's rituals and traditions, whether daily, weekly, or seasonal, etc. so please share, if you'd like. One of my favorites ever was inspired by my friend Julia, and I loved learning how people do Christmas.