Monday, December 12, 2011


Traditions! I love them. Yesterday we made our annual pilgrimage to a Christmas tree farm and looked at every tree on the acreage, at least twice. When we narrowed it down to a tall and dramatic (but prickly) spruce and a smaller, soft-needled fir we trampled back and forth between the two several more times before settling on one. In the end, we thought it would be easier to decorate the smaller, gentler tree and so now it stands in our living room bedecked with homemade ornaments.

Unwrapping those ornaments is one of my favorite traditions. It brings a flood of memories and stories as we recount momentous occasions from our past. For many years, our family made salt dough ornaments – one each – to commemorate some important event, hobby or person in our lives from the year. Those hand-made decorations now adorn our tree. They might not create a magazine-cover-elegance, but the result is memorable. 

We’d taken our boys to see the Nutcracker Suite the year I made this ornament.

One of our boys was captivated by Duplos the year he made this one. I love remembering his chubby toddler hands at work!

Here’s one my husband named, “Little-Stickel-Number-One”. He made it when I was expecting our first child. That was thirty-one years ago! As you can see, it needs a little touch-up paint and another dipping in shellac.

None of us will ever forget the year we drove our little Toyota up a snow-covered mountain to find our Christmas tree. We came close to losing our way as we trudged along that snowy hillside, searching for the one and perfect tree.   Ultimately, we managed to find our tree and strapped it to the roof of the car. It extended over the hood and trailed past the back bumper!

You may well ask what this post has to do with speech and language development. Good question. Of course you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enhance your child’s vocabulary as you talk about the activities you do during the holidays. But I also believe our traditions (whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or our own family customs) communicate the stories of our lives. And communication is what speech and language development is all about.

I’d love to hear of your traditions – and your stories.

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