Traditions: How to create memories, have fun with your kids, and not lose your mind

Lisa Powell has spoken to the Montgomery MOPS group many times, and this is the third time I’ve heard her speak about traditions. I never get tired of hearing her wisdom and learning from her. First, let me be honest, I kind of want Lisa to adopt me because it just sounds like it is SO FUN to be in her family. And this is why we are grateful that she is happy to bring her ideas, her sense of fun, and her love to us. She has a passion for helping you create memories in your home that are fun, never stressful, and that build up your kids and family for years to come.

Lisa and her bowls for “mixing up memories”. She’s so clever!

According to Lisa (and we know she knows!), the best traditions are:

  1. Unique. They should be a reflection of who you are as a family. There’s nothing better than an inside joke or a wacky tradition only your family can claim.
  2. Spontaneous. The best traditions are the ones that happen when no one is watching. That really fun night you all chased lightning bugs, or the time everyone ended up in the bath with their clothes on are the things that stick whether you want them to or not. Lisa says, “One time a tradition makes.”
  3. Flexible. Forcing a tradition means you squeeze all the fun out of it. Maybe a tradition changes over time as your kids get older. Maybe mama thinks it should look Pinterest-worthy but her kids are just littles. Letting go of how it “should be” and letting it be what is can free you to make a great memory.
  4. Easy & fun. If mama spends all weekend cooking, cleaning, and prepping for that big tradition she wants to start, there’s no way she’ll be able to repeat it next year. Lisa LOVES little parties, celebrations that happen everyday. She advocates for cheap, festive paper plates and napkins that turn a school lunchbox into a holiday and an after school snack into something special. Also, Lisa loves to name food to go along with the holidays: Boo Burgers or Witches Brew (beef stew or whatever) for Halloween, or Pot-o-gold Mac and Cheese or Green Eggs and Ham for St. Patrick’s Day. Even that meal you’ve made a thousand times before can be something the kids gobble down with a silly name!
  5. Memorable. The things you’re telling stories about year’s later are the really good ones. This means everyone had fun, and this means you’re bonding your family.
  6. Handled with Care. If no one had a nap and the dog got into the trash, it’s not a good day for a party or baking cookies for Santa. If this means you make that special dish or celebrate that moment days after you normally would, it will still be fun and special. And that tradition will be more likely to survive if no one has a tantrum!
  7. Back by popular demand. The thing your kids ask you “Hey mom, when are we going to do that again?” or “Are we gonna do that again this year?”—those are the things that are worth repeating. That means they hit all the above qualities.
  8. Memory focused. Take pictures. Inscribe books with memories of special moments. Lisa loves to give books as gifts, and to use them to create memories. Do something with your kids that a character in a book does (Go get cookies and read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Take a picture and put it in the cover of the book with a story of what they did. Fun!) Kids love to talk about that fun trip to get donuts with Grandpa or the time they went to the zoo with Aunt Deb, so help them keep those memories.
  9. Generational. That special pound cake your grandma made every Christmas? The silly way your mother packed your Easter baskets? Do those things with your kids. And tell the story. Your children need to know where they came from. This will ground them later on when the wind blows hard in the wrong direction. Plus, it will make you feel great to share about the people, and memories, you love.
  10. Christ-centered. All that we do, in small or large ways, is to quietly, lovingly, lead our children to their Savior. Creating memories will bond them to you and to each other, and this love and grace will seep its way into their hearts. One of Lisa’s favorite traditions is to wrap up the baby Jesus from her nativity set as a present. He sits wrapped all season long, and then on Christmas morning he is unwrapped by the youngest child and placed in the manger (Because He is arrived!). Find simple ways in your celebrations to keep the focus on the one who made us, the one who loved and saved us.


What are your traditions? How do you want to try to make more celebrations in the every day? What stresses you out about making traditions in your home? We’d love to hear from you about what you think traditions do and can look like for your family.


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