Family Traditions When Your Family Isn’t Traditional

Please welcome my friend Amanda from Busy Mama 911 who is here today sharing about family traditions when your family may not be exactly traditional. I know you will enjoy the thoughts she brings to break image

When Linda asked me to write a guest post here at Apron Strings & other things, I jumped at the opportunity. It is such an honor to be asked to participate by the lady who gave me the encouragement and the information I needed to start my own blog.

Family traditions, do we have any?

However, when I found out the post needed to be about Family Traditions, I kind of panicked. Do we have any, I thought? Our family is not very traditional. I mean sure we have the family gift exchanges and some favorite holiday foods that grace our table each year, but that’s nothing special.

BusyMama911 guest post | Apron Strings

When I was a child we had traditions. My mom didn’t have to work. She and I would spend days before Christmas whipping up at least ten different kinds of Christmas cookies. We’d go on a Christmas shopping trip every year with Aunt Dodie. You could guarantee we’d spend Christmas Eve at Grandma-and-Grandpa-on-the-farm’s house. And Christmas Day was always at our house with Grandma and Grandpa Kissell.

But now as an adult, things are so different. Most of the people involved in the Traditions of Christmases Past are gone. Our family is now a blended one, whose members include police officers, a dispatcher and swing shift workers. We work nights, weekends and holidays. The chances of us organizing a shopping trip together or a cookie baking gathering are pretty slim. We’re lucky to get everyone together for a Christmas meal. Lots of years someone was absent because they had to work. Rarely have we been able to hold our celebration on the actual holiday. It’s hard to maintain traditions when your family structure and lifestyles are not traditional.

What will my children remember?

I was starting to feel sad and about to back out on this post. I wondered to myself, what will my children remember about our Christmases? That they were almost always celebrated on the wrong date? And if they were celebrated on the correct date, we had to clean up early, so Mom could take a nap before she went to work.
Then it hit me as my son Zachary and I were carrying some grocery bags full of stuffing and green beans for our church’s food drive to our truck. While we don’t have traditions that revolve around certain dates and certain times. Neither does ours include spending as much time with our extended family as we would like. But we do have a Tradition that’s been there all along, I just didn’t realize it. It’s the tradition of giving.

One Special Christmas . . .

When I think back on my favorite Childhood Christmas memories, besides the cookie making and the shopping trips and the gatherings on predictable dates at predictable times, I always remember one special Christmas when I was about 7 years old. My mom learned of a family in need of a helping hand and she decided to step in.  It was so much fun to shop for and wrap up the dolls, toy trucks, scarves and gloves we had picked out to give them. And if memory serves me correctly, there was a nice food box in addition to the gifts.

I vividly remember being more excited that Christmas Eve about the gifts we were giving than the ones I was going to unwrap the next morning myself. I waited at home with such anticipation for grandpa, who was all decked out in his Santa Suit, to return and tell us how his special delivery went. The best part, the family never knew it came from us. And as far as I know, they still don’t.

I’ve Continued the Tradition of Giving . . .

Without even realizing it, I’ve continued the tradition of giving whenever I could. Sometimes all we could afford to give were just a few sacks of food to the local food pantry. But some years GOD blessed us with the funds to give much more.
One year, we filled the back seat of a family’s vehicle with food and household goods. I would have loved to have seen the look on their faces when they went outside and found their backseat filled to the brim.

Last year was a lean one for us. I recall we could only give one small bag of food to the pantry. It was so small that my son could fit it in his backpack and carry it to school on the bus. It was hard to accept that was all we could give that last year. Our son Zachary was surprised at our small offering too. He remarked how he usually needed driven to school and help carrying our donations inside.

A Community Gift-Giving Project . . .

This year has been so much better. We have been able to donate bags of food several weeks in a row. And we have been blessed to have the funds to participate in a community gift-giving project as well. Several area churches have collected names of people in need. The giving is anonymous (my favorite kind). And everyone chooses a recipient by number. We ended up with an 11 year old boy who wants board games for Christmas. I hope he enjoys them.

We are just giving what we can.

Next year I hope to be able to give even more. And I want to find a way to include the grandchildren in the giving as well. I know we’re not giving thousands of dollars and we’re not giving to lots and lots of people. We are just giving what we can. And we are so thankful, that the Greatest Gift given that ever was or ever will be, provided us with enough to give.

If you’re looking to add a Family Tradition to the ones you already have, consider giving. It’s sure to bless your family, as well as others. And remember, you don’t have to be a Traditional Family to have (or start) a great Family Tradition. In fact, you may already have one and not know it.

BusyMama911 Bio Pic

Amanda blogs at Busy Mama 911 where her mission is to be a source of encouragement and practical information for busy Mamas everywhere. She has been a full time third shift 911 Dispatcher for over 15 years and an Independent Lilla Rose Consultant but especially enjoys time with her husband, children, step-children and step-grandchildren.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. What a lovely tradition. We also enjoy giving at Christmas. This year we have started taking part in simple community service projects throughout the year. I think it helps the kids to realize the needs of others. Thank you.

  2. That’s lovely. I think raising giving children is so important. I would like to find some simple community service projects throughout the year too. What have you found?

    I am really excited to have just learned about a company that let’s you buy chickens and goats for families in third world countries. I am going to check into it further, but if they are legitimate, I think next year I will donate a chicken in the name of each grandchild as one of their Christmas gifts. I want to find a way to get them involved in giving too.

  3. Oh what a beautiful heart! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Tradition forms our family identity and this is a great idea! There is such meaning in serving others together.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    • Thank you Mel. I believe you are right. I am so thankful that Linda asked me to write this post. I didn’t think we had any traditions until I really examined things. Now I can claim this one and focus on it. And increase it, Lord willing.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family as well. I’m heading over to check out your blog now 🙂

  5. What a wonderful family tradition. And, your son can see that you give what you can when you can, even if it’s only a little. When my son was in elementary school, he asked where the cans of food went, because they were just picked up at the school. We didn’t know the people who delivered them. So, I went on a hunt to find out and wrote about it this year. But, I love that you kept up the tradition.

  6. Amanda…what a fabulous post! Giving is a great tradition around the holiday and throughout the year. We do compassion bags throughout the year for homeless people. The blessing we receive in return is joy-filled humble hearts. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing at WJIM this week. And thank you Linda for having Amanda guest post. Blessings.

  7. Compassion bags for homeless. I think I have seen those on TV maybe? Is it where you give soap, shampoo, toothbrush, washcloth and things like that? That’s a wonderful and so needed way to give in many areas.

  8. Wonderful List! Pinned and am featuring at Family Fun Friday!


  9. Thanks Monica! I am going to check out Happy and Blessed Home right now.

Speak Your Mind