Today's Home for the Holidays post is from the lovely and talented Ashley Campbell of Under the Sycamore. She's always got something unique to share so I was thrilled when she sent me this post about a special family tradition that not only marks the passing of time but is a standing record of sorts that I'm sure will be a treasure in years to come.
I am a huge fan of family traditions whether they are related to holidays or simple routines. As a mom of 4, I especially love how traditions mark the rapid growth of my children. With small kids the exact same tradition is totally different the next year simply because they have grown. One tradition that we started soon after the birth of our first son is to place 'hope' notes in our stockings when we pack them up for storage. The idea came from a friend and is very simple. Each year we write a little note to go in each stocking when we pack them up for the next year.
The following year when we unpack all the decorations we get to pull out notes tucked inside. Whatever is written on the notes is not recorded anywhere else. Typically we forget what we write and the anticipation of reading them as a family is so much fun.
We often laugh as we read through what we hoped would happen over the course of the year. Our notes aren't necessarily goals or dreams, just practical things we hope to see happen before the next Christmas arrives. As our family grows and our kids get older the hopes change. For the little ones Chris and I write down what we hope for them. As they get older they include what they hope to see happen. Some of our recent notes for the kids (and by the kids) included:
* be potty trained
* will start talking clearly
* learn to recognize letters & shapes
* begin walking
* go on a movie date with mommy (my oldest hoped for that)
* begin reading chapter books
Sometimes everything we hoped for happens, but other times it does not. There are a couple things that have been 'hoped' for several years and they make their way back into the stockings year after year. We let the kids pick things that they hope will happen for mommy & daddy too. Some of the 'hopes' for Chris and I have included:
* a year of rest and living in the moment
* learn to sew clothes
* travel overseas
* $____ amount in savings
* clarity in regards to adoption
* read four books
* Mommy will get 10 kisses everyday (my oldest hoped for that, too)
After reading our notes I write them down in a simple handmade journal. The journal sits our in our living room and from time to time we enjoy reading (and laughing) at the things we wrote. "Will be potty trained" has been in at least one of our kid's stocking for several years...soon we will move out of that phase of life and our hopes will be totally different. One day our son will be hoping for a car instead of learning to ride a bike.
The tradition is both the same and different every year. Unpacking stockings as a family and sharing together what hopes were realized and which ones were not is one of my very favorite traditions. Our notes have become in a sense a perpetual calendar of our family...a fun little record of the practical stuff in each phase of life. Our stockings are hung again and all too soon new notes will fill them before they are packed away for next year.
Thank you, Rachel, for letting me be a part of your Home for the Holidays series....Merry Christmas! ~Ashley******************
Ashley's blog is one of my favorites to read for her creative DIY's, great photography, and regular good humor. There are days when I'm reminded how to be more intentional as a mother and days when I sigh the collective, "Me, too!", when reading about a particularly frustrating evening. She's got a beautiful heart, a charming family, and a house that will make you go weak in the knees! See for yourself. Thanks, Ashley!
Be sure to check in again Monday for more 'Home for the Holidays' inspiration.