I love traditions, not just the Christmas ones, but the year around ones too!
One of the traditions that I started with my family was what we dub "popcorn night." It hits on Wednesday nights and consists of popcorn, of course, and playing a board game. Over the years we have grown from Candy Land and Hi-Ho Cherry O to some really fun games that we've just recently purchased: Quelf, Wits and Wagers, and Logo to name a few-all of which I completely recommend.
This tradition has been brought to mind lately because Christmas family gatherings, for us, always mean board games. This season we've just attended a few family gatherings, games in tow. and we have at least one more to gatherings to go. While my husband is usually found off talking to adults, I weasel my way into the teen or children's tables with one or two games, and we generally start having so much fun that the adults in the area are soon joining in also.
I think why our popcorn night tradition is so meaningful to me is because when growing up, I was always the one (out of the 6 family members) who wanted to play a board game. Yet, in thinking back to all the times that we did manage to pull together as a family around a game, I only have memories of one or more of my sisters and maybe- only maybe- myself, bringing the game to an abrupt end- because someone wasn't following the rules, someone wasn't fair, or someone was breathing on someone else! (Close family time can be SO stressful!) I do have to say though that growing up I can only recall two games that we tried- Monopoly and Clue. Both of these games are a push to include parents down to ages four or so- at least without some kind of fight taking place. All that considered, I am a sucker for board games and now have a closet full to choose from each Wednesday night.
It's not all bliss. There are still arguments. There are many times when at least half of us are just not into playing a game. There are times when the game gets canceled altogether and a movie takes its place. Yes, there are complaints about someone breathing on someone else! (I know, I'm too touchy!) But, we are all together with a common goal. . . so, I love it! Now that my husband (as of this past week) has taken a job on first shift, he too will be included in on the tradition- despite the fact that he is not a big game player.
I never knew that this traditions meant much to my kids as it did to me until once when The Bookworm was staying a couple of nights at Grandma's and was very insistent that she return home by Wednesday so as to not miss popcorn night. (Warms my heart! Guess all the arguments that accompany tradition are worth it.)
Now that my kids are growing up, taking on jobs, committing to outside activities, it gets harder to hold popcorn night. But we do our best, even it it means having "Popcorn Tuesday." I hope that as they continue to grow and move on that they will know that the door is always open on Wednesday night and the popcorn is popped and waiting! And who knows? Maybe someday I'll drop in on one of my childrens' houses and find the same tradition occurring, complete with "Mom, make him stop breathing on me!!"
Surviving myself on each and every popcorn night,