Opinion Saturday

I haven’t done an Opinion Saturday question for a little while, but I’ve got one for you today.

Thinking back to your own childhood, what were your favorite family traditions? They can be everyday things like tickle-fests at bedtime or going out to breakfast on Sunday mornings, or things related to holidays and birthdays– just anything that sticks out in your mind as something special and meaningful that your family did together when you were a child. Why do you think those traditions were meaningful to you? And what traditions are you creating for your own children to remember?

You have until Wednesday morning to answer. I’ll choose one responder as my “Very Interesting Person” this week. I am looking forward to reading about your memories as well as your current traditions.

{ 22 Comments }

  1. womanstuff says:

    My mom loved holidays and they were reflected in the meal she served. Valentine’s Day for example… the food had to be red or white. Nothing else. Our mashed pototoes couldn’t stay white though… she would tint them red. Same went for our glass of milk. And we drank it lol…

    Dessert was always a heart shaped cake covered in oodles of chocolate frosting and then sprinkled with Smarties.

    And then came St. Patrick’s Day… more of the same, but everything would be green and white! You get the idea.

    Ahhh the memories lol…

  2. Suzanne Lavoie says:

    It is snowing here in Virginia and it brings to mind several of my family traditions of growing up in Massachusetts. On Sunday mornings, my mother would get all of us kids (7 of us) together to go to church. It was a struggle but we all would sit (relatively) still. On the way home we would go to a little local store about 1 mile from our house and pick up muffins and pastrami and have a Sunday “brunch”. It was such a routine that on several occasions, when we had large snow storms, we couldn’t go to church but I remember us all getting bundled up and taking a radio flyer sled and walking down to the local store to get our brunch supplies. Here’s hoping for a old time blizzard!

  3. Every Sunday afternoon after church, for many years, my family and my uncle’s family (my mom’s brother) would have pot-luck lunch at my maternal grandparents’ house. While we were fortunate to still have them with us, my two great-grandmothers would join us as well, with Granny Ford always bringing two desserts: a pie and a plate of cream-puffs, if we were lucky.
    The adults would sit at the big table while the five kids–all girls–sat at the kids’ table. The memories I have of playing with my sister and three cousins on these Sunday afternoons are, without a doubt, the happiest of my childhood. My grandparents made sure we shared, took turns, and cleaned up after ourselves: values that are still pretty important as adults. Either Granny or Grandaddy would often steal away from the adults to come join in whatever world we’d created, usually adding their own “spin” on things, like how Grandaddy convinced us all that he’d landed the first spaceship on the moon.
    Now, Grandaddy and one of my cousins are no longer with us, but our family remains close in spirit, despite the physical distance between us. I know this is because of these Sunday afternoons, a steady constant in all our lives for so long.

  4. Seriously? I loved that my Mom made SPAM, mashed potatoes and baby peas for dinner for herself and us girls when my Dad was out of town on business (Dad doesn’t like SPAM). Loved it so much that Bean and I have SPAM when Al’s traveling, and Bean thinks it’s great too. AW!

    I also remember and cherish that my Dad would bring home a new paperdoll book or coloring book (with new Crayons!) whenever I was sick as a little girl. It made me sorta look forward to having a little virus! My parents were both very skilled at making “bad” days kinda special in one way or another – which makes me sorta view rain, cold, illness and/or cancelled plans as an opportunity for coziness.

  5. My favorite family tradition was Saturday mornings. We didn’t wake up like most kids and go watch cartoons, we woke up to my dad blaring classics such as James Taylor and Micheal Jackson’s Thriller. Then my dad would haul out the gridle and make us all the best, yummiest chocolate chip pancakes you have ever tasted all while dancing up a storm. This tradition continued until us kids were all in high school and then it sort of faded away. Today, I’m the one who gets up each Saturday morning to blare the music (no Jackson or Taylor though) and make those yummy chocolate chip pancakes, with occasional dancing. Not a Saturday goes by that we don’t have them (unless of course we aren’t home 😉 )

  6. As a child my grandmother would tuck us into bed on the weekends when we spend the night at her house and after our bedtime prayer and a few kisses she’d lean over and whisper in our ears “you know you’re my favorite, don’t tell your cousins”.

    We didn’t figure out she did it to each and every one of us until we were in highschool. At which point we were arguing about who was the favorite and someone said “well she told me every night when she tucked me in” and everyone else started laughing.

    I’ve passed this tradition on to my god-children, neices, nephews and once my daughter has siblings I’ll be doing it to her as well.

    Because everyone needs to feel like the favorite sometimes.

  7. Just the other day I was remembering winter Sunday afternoons, playing board games on the floor with my brother and parents in front of the fireplace, with a pot of hot soup on the stove.

  8. Working on the farm…yes, I know that doesn’t sound like a tradition but for us it was because we lived on a sheep farm and every year we had the same things that needed to be done. Some of the work wasn’t so pleasant but when I think back to it there’s nothing but good memories because it was one of the few things we did as a family together. The best memory is the sheep shearing that we did 2 times a year. Us kids were responsible for climbing up a 6 foot ladder that held a huge bag. The wool was thrown into the bag and we took turns and were lowered down into the bag and got to jump and jump and jump and stuff the wool down so we could we get as much wool into the bag as possible. It was so fun! Everyone once in awhile dad would let us try our hand at actually shearing the sheep but mainly we kept to the jumping. Our mom and dad used these opportunities to teach us and encourage us and they are memories I’ll never forget.
    Some traditions we’ve created with our kids: family night, once a week going out to eat and doing something fun as a family; “Quittem Family Football Fondue Night” – Hubby makes his amazing fondue on Super Bowl Sunday and we pig out; Date night, once a month our 17 year old goes out on a date with her dad; Family prayer, every night we pick a different family from our church or school or neighborhood to pray for.

  9. On Thanksgiving Day, before we sat for the big meal, we all stood behind our chairs and sang We Gather Together…all 3 verses. My dad printed out the words–a copy for each of us. There were usually non-family members there: anyone who was in the area from afar and needed a place to go.
    I think that was my favorite holiday.
    When Dad died, 9 years ago, each kid (3) was asked to contribute to the memorial service. I had everyone sing We Gather Together.

  10. Our tradition sounds very very unconventional( I had total hippy parents)
    Once a week all seven of us would have one person be the recipient of being massaged by all of us I think its so funny now but everyone was into it, because once it was your turn to be rubbed it was awesome, my mom is still like that she is always giving out foot massages and back rubs.
    Every thanksgiving we would write on little cards all the things we were thankful for for that given year and my dad would hang them all around the ceiling(of our school bus!)I would love to read some of those now.
    Another thing we did was give each other native american names, mine was Waterfall, for the longest time I thought that was my given name, we would pretend to be native americans in the woods, my grandparents loved this;0
    My parents love to reenact things so every Christmas we reenacted the nativity, its really interesting to see who is Mary and who is baby Jesus, my dad narrates and reads the whole nativity account.

  11. Every Saturday we made yummy homemade cinnamon rolls for Sunday’s breakfast.

    Wish I did that more often here!

  12. When I was born, my brothers were 18 and 14 years old. When the oldest brother got married, I was only 2 years old, and I became an aunt when I was 4 years old.

    My favorite tradition was when my oldest brother and his family used to come over every Sunday afternoon and stay for Sunday dinner. My niece and I would play dolls in my parents’ bedroom. They had a HUGE bedroom that had been added-on to the house so Cindy would take one side as her “house” and I would take the other side as my “house” and we would play for hours!!

    I don’t remember much about what Mommy Dearest made for dinner. We girls probably didn’t even eat. *lol* We probably just played house.

    My parents and I moved from that home when I was 12 years old and I hadn’t been back in it until 2004. The home of my childhood was up for sale and I just happened to see the Open House listing in our newspaper one Sunday afternoon. I looked at the clock and there were still 90 minutes left so I asked my husband if he’d go with me.

    I grabbed my camera and we raced out. When I walked through the front door of that home of my childhood, I honestly felt like Alice in Wonderland walking through the looking glass. I was instantly transported back in time, some 35+ years previous, to when I was a little girl.

    Hardly anything had changed. The previous owners hadn’t updated nary a thing and I was grateful for that. So many of the cabinets my dad had built for my mom were still in the laundry room in the basement (my dad’s been gone almost 21 years now). I saw the pipe that I used to bang on, with a wrench, to indicate to the oil man outside that the meter on the tank said it was getting full.

    Then, I went into that very bedroom that Cindy and I had played in and all the memories came flooding back as if they happened yesterday. The beautiful pine paneling was still on the walls… the owners had their big king-size bed in the same place my parents used to have theirs… I could picture in my mind’s eye Cindy’s dolly on one side and mine on the other.

    I was glad I got to revisit that old house that I never thought I’d see again. Even moreso, I’m glad I got to “play house” in that big back bedroom once again… even if it was only in my mind.

    God bless~ Pearl

  13. When I was born, my brothers were 18 and 14 years old. When the oldest brother got married, I was only 2 years old, and I became an aunt when I was 4 years old.

    My favorite tradition was when my oldest brother and his family used to come over every Sunday afternoon and stay for Sunday dinner. My niece and I would play dolls in my parents’ bedroom. They had a HUGE bedroom that had been added-on to the house so Cindy would take one side as her “house” and I would take the other side as my “house” and we would play for hours!!

    I don’t remember much about what Mommy Dearest made for dinner. We girls probably didn’t even eat. *lol* We probably just played house.

    My parents and I moved from that home when I was 12 years old and I hadn’t been back in it until 2004. The home of my childhood was up for sale and I just happened to see the Open House listing in our newspaper one Sunday afternoon. I looked at the clock and there was still 90 minutes left so I asked my husband if he’d go with me.

    I grabbed my camera and we raced out. When I walked through the front door of that house, I honestly felt like Alice in Wonderland walking through the looking glass. I was instantly transported back in time, some 35+ years previous, to when I was a little girl.

    Hardly anything had changed. The previous owners hadn’t updated nary a thing and I was grateful for that. So many of the cabinets my dad had built for my mom were still in the laundry room in the basement (my dad’s been gone almost 21 years now). I saw the pipe that I used to bang on, with a wrench, to indicate to the oil man outside that the meter on the oil tank indicated it was almost full.

    Then, I went into that very bedroom that Cindy and I had played in and all the memories came flooding back as if they happened yesterday. The beautiful pine paneling was still on the walls… the owners had their big king-size bed in the same place my parents used to have theirs… I could picture in my mind’s eye Cindy’s dolly on one side and mine on the other.

    I was glad I got to revisit that old house that I never thought I’d see again. Even moreso, I’m glad I got to “play house” in that big back bedroom once again… even if it was only in my mind.

    God bless~ Pearl

  14. I always loved how we decorated our Christmas tree as a family each year. When we were young, my parents would string the tinsel and lights and let my siblings and I hang the ornaments wherever we wanted. After we were done, we’d always turn off all the lights except for the tree and sit back to marvel at how beautiful the Christmas tree was.

    As we got older, my parents let us take over the entire process of getting the tree out and decorated. We would all be there talking and laughing and remembering about the various ornaments we were hanging. The family togetherness and fun we had were always so special For me, it was always one of the best nights of the Christmas season each year.

    Now that I’m married and have a daughter, I’m making a point each year to get her involved in the process of decorating the tree. She’s two, so this year, she helped decide where to put the ornaments and helped hang them up. I hope she has as many wonderful memories of decorating our Christmas tree as I do.

  15. My great-grandmother (Gran-Gran) liked to make quilts. My favorite memory/ tradition was all the women in the family quilting at her house. She would have the quilt in a giant frame in her living room. I would sit under it doing puzzles, reading, coloring, etc. while the women worked on the quilt above me. It is my most favorite time of my childhood- it even ranks above going to Disney. My great-grandmother passed away when I was in highschool and now, 20 years later, I still find myself thinking of her everytime I see a quilt. My most prized possession is a quilt she started before she died that my grandmother completed for me. Although I can’t pass down this tradition because I do not know how to quilt- I do try to make sure my children know the amazing people that have been a part of our family by passing down the memories and stories from their lives.

  16. This is sort of a new tradition, mostly initiated since I left home for college about a billion… I mean just a few years ago.

    Whenever our family all gets together at my parents’ place we play board games after dinner. Usually whoever has been away longest or will stay in town the shortest gets first pick- my parents have only the basics: Uno, Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit. The games themselves aren’t really our focus. We put on some music and there are usually jelly beans or popcorn involved.

    My favorite thing about it is that we almost always play late enough that we get giddy and laugh at the silliest stuff. We’re normally kind of a laid-back group, so even though it sounds cheesy, I clearly remember every bout of out of character craziness. Some of our best longstanding inside jokes have been gleaned from those beyond-sleepy moments.

  17. watermelonmama says:

    This doesn’t include my entire family… but it was still a family tradition.. Sometimes my sisters and I would set our alarms, and wake up together in the middle of the night for a secret snack. When the rest of the house was asleep, we’d make Sapporo Ichiban instant noodles and chat and giggle. I guess it sounds pretty boring, but we grew up in a very strict household where dad was a Chinese immigrant, working all the time, and mom was quite scary (we later found out she was suffering from mental illness). When I look back, I do so fondly on those little moments, because they remind me that we can always find joy in our lives, especially when we stick together.

  18. happybell says:

    My favourite tradition is being able to decide the menu on your birthday. My greatgrandma used to let her kidas decide, then my grandma did so, and my mum passedd the tradition on to us. It’s fun to be able to ask for your favourite dish or dessert, or those things that you rarely get to eat.

    Also, some of the best memories are playing board games and cards after lunch or dinner when the whole family got together. We still do it, and its great!

    Then, I can remember having lots of fun with my grandma, aunts and cousins, while learning to knit and sew. They would help us make our own doll’s dresses. Of course, as we grew up, we changed from doll dresses to clothes for us. It was really fun and it provided lots of opportunities to talk.

  19. I wrote something recently on my blog about my childhood. I hope its fair to link to that instead of writing it all out here. Its at http://rejoicinginhope.blogspot.com/2007/11/frugal-friday-fried-mush.html . Sorry, I’m not sure how to make that clickable, hopefully you can cut and paste..

  20. My dad’s a rocket scientist. Yeah, no joke. Solid jet propulsion is his specialty.

    When we got to the fourth grade, he’d come in and teach our GATE classes (we were in gifted ed pull-out programs) all about rockets and the history. Then he’d help us make a 4 or 5-foot model rocket, and our entire class would go out to a dry lakebed and launch our rockets. It. Was. Awesome.

    My other favorite? When he’d take us to McDonald’s, and then to the dry lake bed, and we’d help him bury the excess explosives and then hide behind the minivan while we blew them up.

    Good times.

  21. Ok, I really love watermelonmama’s tradition. So lovely. Her telling brings tears to my eyes.

  22. My fondest memory is the women in my family quilting at my Gran-Gran’s house. (She was my great-grandmother.) Gran-Gran would set up her quilt in a huge frame in her living room. The women in the family would stand and quilt together. It made a perfect fort for me. I would sit under the quilt reading, coloring and listening to the women talk. My Gran-Gran passed away nearly 20 years ago and I still think of her every time I see a quilt. One of my most prized possession is a quilt she had begun before she passed away. My grandmother finished it and gave it to me. Although I can not pass on this tradition of quilting- since I can’t quilt- I do pass on to my children the memories and stories of their family.