When we adopted our daughter, it was important for us to establish holiday traditions unique to our family. We wanted to create cherished memories for years to come. We came up with a fun idea that has been going strong now for her fifteen years of life. It is something we look forward to each year and maybe our daughter will establish the same tradition with her children, someday.
We purchased a sturdy artificial tree, about one and a half feet high, for Rachel’s room. Every Christmas we have our large, freshly cut tree in the living room, but the one in her room is just for her. Every year, she gets a new ornament for her tree. The first year, we gave her a baby with the year of her birth painted at the base. The next year, she received a pretty snowflake made out of wire and white glitter. When Rachel was two, she experienced playing in the snow for the first time.
As she grows, we look to her life and try to find an ornament that represents that phase in her development, her interests and/or a major event. When she was five, we gave her an ornament made out of school books in honor of starting school. At seven years old, she received a Mickey Mouse to represent her first trip to Disneyland. There was a plastic Barbie for her ninth year. Last Christmas, Rachel’s ornament was a tree (she has become an advocate for the environment).
Rachel now has fifteen ornaments on the tree. Each one is valuable to her and reveals a special part of her young life. When she is an adult, the ornaments and tree will go with her to her own home. We add extra bling to the tree with pink candy canes and gold tinsel. We even added a string of tiny white lights. This tradition makes Rachel feel special and she looks forward to opening her new ornament each Christmas morning.
It is especially important for adoptive families to establish rituals and traditions that create loving family memories. It is the repetition that builds warm moments to last a lifetime. These customs help weave the fabric of family bonds. They are engaging and influential over the self-identity of your child. This Christmas, be committed to creating authentic traditions with your children and bask in their radiant smiles! You will be glad you did.