Family Traditions and Heirlooms

Chad Riddersen

Posted on June 28 2012

I attended a Sip-and-See this past weekend and was reminded why I like these types of showers so much. First, you get to meet, hold, and gush over the new baby. My second, more selfish reason, is that it's such a nice outing for me (sans children and husband): chatting with friends, enjoying good food and drinks, and engaging in lots of laughter. What could be better?

As the new mother opened gifts, her mother (the baby's grandmother), gifted something that blew my mind (and inspired me to blog about it). A close neighbor of the grandmother had hand-knitted a beautiful ensemble as a gift for her when she had her daughter back in the 70s. It included a beautiful white dress, romper, bonnet, and matching blanket. My friend actually sported this adorable outfit as a child! Well, the grandma had kept this whole set in mint condition (I didn't know it was possible for fabric to stay so white!) and packaged it beautifully to present to her daughter and new granddaughter at this sip-and-see. It literally brought me to tears. It was such a thoughtful gift, and it was just another reminder how much mothers (and fathers) love us and think so deeply about their children.

I came home and began thinking about what I would want to pass on to my own daughters at their sip-and-see's. The whole concept of family heirlooms and family traditions is so special. They stand for so many things - the immense love and caring within a family, family values and culture, a family's beliefs and ideals, their history, etc. I come from an immigrant family that's been uprooted several times, and I feel like a lot of "stuff" has gotten lost with each big move. Yes, I grew up hearing amazing stories and seeing photos, but I don't have much in the way of tangible heirlooms or even traditions. I am determined to start my own traditions with my family and maybe one day, my daughters' kids will be blogging about their own beautiful family traditions and heirlooms.

Well, I got the following idea from someone in a Parent Ed. class I attended when my daughter was a newborn, and the reason I love it and have been able to follow-through with this particular tradition is because I love everything about the Christmas holiday. So, I buy 1 ornament for each daughter every Christmas and label it with a tag noting the year and why I chose that particular ornament. The plan is to have a complete "collection" of ornaments (that tell great stories) to present to my daughters as a wedding/shower gift.

Do you have any favorite family traditions or any ideas for those wanting to start their own? I'd love to hear what other families are doing!

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  • lollaland: July 02, 2015

    This is SUCH an amazing tradition/story. Thanks for sharing! I love that the books are inscribed and the nightie story made me laugh out loud! Thanks…

  • Karen: July 02, 2015

    Every year, on Christmas Eve, my mother gave me the Christmas pajamas or nightgown I would wake up in on Christmas morning, and because I was a voracious reader, she would include a book. The pajamas always had reindeer, snowflakes, or some other Christmas-related theme and the book was always inscribed with something lovely and heartfelt. She would wrap them, like the myriad of other gifts she put under the tree. As the years went by, although her other gifts would be more expensive and more reflective of my wishlist, those became the presents I most anticipated. The tradition continued way into My adulthood and I still have at least 5 or 6 pairs of the pajamas/nightgowns she’s bought me. They are ridiculously old and faded but I love every pair I managed to keep. Funny story, when I was 21 and got married, I asked, “where’s my nightgown?” And she handed me a box. I got excited to open it and my heart sank when inside, instead of some Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, or Santa covered PJs, there was a satiny nightie. No snowflakes, no warm flannel, a pretty, sexy nightie. My face fell and I said, “what is this?” And she said, “oh no! I thought you’re older, you’re married now, you wouldn’t want those little girl pajamas!” And I said, “but I wear them every year, that’s what we do!”. She was upset that she had gotten it so wrong that year, but I saw the surprise and happiness on her face that I loved our tradition. So it might not be an heirloom, or a big deal, but that is a tradition I will do with my baby if ever I have one. And if you’re wondering what ever happened to all the books, I have all of them inscribed from 1978 through 1993 (the last year I got a book/nightgown). But writing all this has inspired me to start a new tradition. I think this Christmas, I will send my mother a set of Christmas-themed pajamas and get her a book for her e-reader. So thank you for reminding me of a tradition I haven’t thought of in a while!

  • July 02, 2015

    In the south, a sip n see is exactly that….no touching the baby!!

  • Michelle: July 02, 2015

    This is the last thing in the world
    That I would want right now as a mother of 2 toddlers and a new born. But I think that it would
    Be fun to attend one!

  • Benzi: July 02, 2015

    Beneficial info and excellent degsin you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

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