Family Holiday Letters: A new holiday tradition

standard December 21, 2012 3 responses

I belong to a mother’s group that has brought me endless succor and the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Every other Wednesday (give or take) we drop our children off at childcare, gather around coffee and breakfast treats, gossip, chat and generally revel in two glorious hours filled with adult conversation.

I know. You’re jealous already. But that’s not all.

Our group also features 5 treasures, the “mentor” moms, women who are past the age of being moms and are enjoying being grandmas. They join us at all of our meetings to help guide us with their wisdom, experience, and, best of all, humor.

I like to joke that they’re like our mothers, but without the baggage.

At one of our last meetings, one about holiday traditions, one of these mentor moms brought in a family heirloom to share with the group. Ever since her children have been young, every year (to this day) each member of her family writes a letter to each other member of the family sharing memories about the year, things they love about that member, and things they wish for that member for the coming year.

The letters are all collected and kept in a family scrapbook and each year they go through and read past letters.

Adorable right?

Admit you want to do this too.

My kids are at the perfect age to start this tradition. C can write well on her own and Little L, with a little help could create letters for everyone too.

When we have family dinner we always make a point of sharing various things we’re grateful for. In passing someone always says “I’m grateful for my family.” This holiday tradition takes that a step further. It’s a written testimony of how love grows and evolves. Something tangible that can be pulled out when emotions run high or self esteem runs low.

Family love can usually be felt. It’ll be a treat to be able to touch it too.

Need some help getting started? Download one of these family letters! (Click on the image to open the dowloadable/printable version.)

Holiday Comforts

standard November 28, 2011 1 response

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When I converted to Judaism the panel of rabbis who convened to see if I was “ready” asked me to do two things. First, I had to promise to raise my children in the Jewish faith. Second, I had to give up Christmas.

The first item was a no brainer, I’d already planned on that. As for the second, if I’d been able to say yes with my fingers crossed behind my back I would have. Instead I opted for explaining to them why Christmas was non-negotiable.

I must have been convincing because they let me into the tribe without making me give up my most important family tradition.

I wasn’t kidding either. When the turkey dinner draws to a close I do a little inside dance because the countdown to Christmas is officially on.

Little white lights, fir trees, wrapped presents, and a whole week with my family, thinking, talking, and eating amazing food.

I love everything about Christmas. I love the gift buying, hunting down the ideal present for people I love. I love the smells and the joy that permeates the air. I even love the music. (No, really. I have a Pandora Christmas station. I kid you not.)

And why do I love Christmas so much?

Easy, all that joy, all that cheer, all those presents, tinsel, lights, and ribbon, they all lead down to the morning when we all gather together, my husband, my sisters, my brother-in-law, my mom, and all the kids, everyone on their coziest jammies, around the glittery tree, with hot tea in hand, and let the joy and excitement wash over us.

I don’t care what the year has in store for us. I just know that when that morning rolls around I’ll be warm and happy inside, surrounded by the people I love most making their happiest noise.

It doesn’t get more comforting than that.

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective

The Journey Begins with a Single Book

standard January 21, 2011 Leave a response

Her fingers glide under the words, following along as her mouth stumbles over some words and lets others flow out.

We are both snug in her top bunk and I’m trying hard not to think about the tiny railing right behind me. I built this bed and while I’m confident that it will hold her 40lb body safe, I have considerable doubts that it would do the same for my significantly heavier one.

“hhh….a…..t”

She hesitates and glances at the picture.

“Pan!” She says triumphantly.

“Don’t look at the picture, read the word.” I chide gently, smiling at the silly image of a boy wearing a pan as his hat.

She goes back to the word and reads it flawlessly this time. We high five over our grins and she keeps reading.

A page or two in, I pause and ask her to explain to me what’s going on in the story. We laugh for a moment at the ridiculous image of a pig sitting on a tin man’s lap and we resume our reading.

Not long ago I was the one who read to her, the keeper of the words, and she was the one who interrupted with the questions.

I shift a little, poking her pillow into a better place. I love to read – can devour a book in mere hours – and I’ve cherished evening reading fests with my girls – stacks of books piled precariously next to us on the couch.

The reading material is changing over time and the voice of the reader is getting younger. Even Little L is begging to be taught to read. But this shared intimacy over a love of book has remained a constant in our evening routine.

Through books I have traveled to the four corners of the world and imagination. Through stories I have learned about people’s emotions, strength, joy, and sorrow. Books have shaped how I think and who i am and I’m proud to be holding my daughters in my arms as they start their own journey.


This post was written as part of a BabyCenter campaign to help promote literacy. Click here and take the pledge to read more to your child.

Reading at the end of the day

standard December 22, 2010 2 responses

In recent months I’ve started turning away from reading board books to the girls at night and have started spending more time reading chapter books. Instead of cuddling on the couch to read a huge stack of books, we brush teeth first and then head to their cozy bedroom. C climbs into bed and I pull out a puzzle for Little L.

While C can completely sit through an entire chapter with no pictures, Little L gets much too squirmy and whiny for my tastes. She works on her puzzle and listens to the story; little hands busy enough to let the story flow uninterrupted.

I was an avid reader as a kid – still am really – and I love that C is getting into these chapter books. I started by focusing on classics like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, but recently we’ve been reading stories about girls just like mine – spunky, funny, and always sure they’re behaving just right even when they’re not. Juny B Jones and Clementine are our current favorites, but I’m expanding our horizons and loving discovering this new genre.

C is learning to read. She can already sound out basic board books and I see in the not so distant future the time when she’ll be reading these books to herself. But for now I’m treasuring those quiet moments in their room, with Little L at my feet and C lying beside me, as I share stories of girls just like them.

This post was sponsored by Kabongo, a wonderful online world of brain-boosting games for reading, in support of developing reading skills in kids.