By Taralyn Parker

taralyn author pic

What is your favorite family holiday tradition? As a little girl, my very favorite present was actually one my grandparents received each year. Both my Grandpa and Grandma Kimball often exchanged memories with their siblings for Christmas. I loved cuddling up on the couch next to the fire and leafing through binders. Reading stories, looking at pictures – this was part of the Christmas magic for me. It fueled my lifelong love of family history and capturing memories. These were my people – this is where I came from.

Kimball family traditions
Kimball Family at Christmas

As I’ve grown older, the torch has passed to me to keep these memories alive. Every Christmas after opening presents, eating breakfast, and spending time with my family, I sneak away and scan a few pictures to share on social media with the family. It’s my Christmas gift to myself so the tradition doesn’t have to end.

The next six weeks are a mix of magic and mayhem for mommas. Gift lists, holiday dishes, neighbor exchanges, and a host of other traditions. Some years if I am not careful, it becomes too much. It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of it all and maybe even be buried under too many traditions. Perhaps let’s pause before the season begins and consider what traditions speak the most to our heart and the hearts of our family members?

One tip that has been helpful for me is holding a family meeting at the beginning of the holiday season. We have done this the past few years and it has helped us whittle our family traditions down to the most meaningful. We make a list of everyone’s favorite family traditions. The first year we did this surprised me. There were several traditions that took a lot of work that no one mentioned. They were nice, but they weren’t what was important to our family. From this list, we prioritized our favorite family traditions and let a few non-essentials go. Letting go of what was not important freed us up to be more present for what was. As we head into the holiday season let’s hold our families close and prioritize what matters most.


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