As expected, my family’s traditions have changed a little bit as my sisters and I have gotten older. Some of our traditions have included our beds being made for us and getting the front seat of the car on our birthdays, getting to choose the restaurant for dinner if we got straight A’s on our report cards, and Nana and Papa always coming over on Christmas morning for brunch and to watch us open gifts. Some of these things still happen (I wish I still got my bed made on my birthday…), but the biggest change has been the gifts. What do you get for someone who has everything they need or if they want something, can buy it themselves? While we still get stockings (that story should be another post!) for Christmas, for the last couple years, in lieu of giving gifts, we have donated to charities for the other people. I’ve made blankets to donate to a local hospital, sent Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and simply donated money to organizations that each person supports.
I am not a huge Valentine’s Day fan. It’s not that that I don’t like it, but really, it’s just another day to me. With it approaching, Michael and I discussed getting gifts for each other but it was decided that this year, we’d donate to charity. It was actually Michael’s idea, which I think is the best part. I still got flowers (yay!) but am happy that we decided to do something that put others first. And I am happy that the tradition of giving to others at Christmas has now extended to another holiday, too.
We chose to donate money to organizations that fully represented the other person and what they support–I chose the Committee to Protect Journalists for him and he chose Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund for me. There’s always a time to receive gifts and while I love a new handbag (just ask Michael), I think that the best gifts come when thinking of others and putting their needs before our own.
I am hopeful that this can be a new tradition for Michael and I on future Valentine’s Days! I think I’d like the holiday a little bit more! 😉
What are some of your favorite traditions?