Holidays and birthdays are opportunities to celebrate the familiar—the family-ar, as in, those ideas and those people who are so close to us that they are part of our intimate circle. For a lot of us who are focused on attachment parenting, those intimate family relationships are the core of our motivation for all of these choices. We are creating our children’s reality. We are setting a pattern for what our children will celebrate as familiar.
One of the reasons I keep coming back to The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections is the coherence of the philosophy of keeping family close while encouraging a child’s freedom of creativity and action. Whether we call this attachment parenting or we just practice it in various forms of “don’t offer, don’t refuse,” balancing our support for each individual child’s need for connection and for independence is the challenge of parenting.
Spiraling around year after year to familiar celebrations is one of the ways we build that nurturing foundation for our children, the foundation that gives them grounding over time.
Making yourself conscious of your traditions as you build them with your young family, according to The Creative Family author Amanda Blake Soule, “can help voice or reaffirm what your family traditions are for yourself and your children, as well as help you reevaluate what you want for elements in your celebrations” (162).
I’ve been so focused on birthdays through this month (and it will continue for another week or so) that I wanted to share with you the Creative Family ideas for birthdays.
We’re all used to the ideas of a big party, presents, balloons, and cake, but here are a few ideas for some creative new ways to celebrate birthdays in your home. These ideas are centered on celebrating the child and who they are, with a little bit less focus on what they want and/or have.
- a birthday garden, whether a plot or a pot;
- love letters from parents to child, a beautiful collection over time; and
- birthday blessings as everyone shares what they love about the birthday child, what they remember of the past year, or what they wish for the coming year
The nudge, push, and shove to celebrate in a particular way is strong, but you as a parent have all of the power to create a tradition of familiar celebrations that fit who you are and who you want to be.