Holidays as an Adult vs. Holidays as a Kid

We carved pumpkins and decorated Halloween cookies yesterday as a family. Good times, as always, though (as always) we really had to push to actually get those traditions in. (As I posted last year, I believe: Halloween is a tough holiday. You get no time off for it, but it has almost as many traditions around it these days as Christmas does.)

Some times it can be really tempting to just not worry about cookies for a year. Or to let pumpkins slide. But on the flip side, as I was pondering that reality last night, I also was putting MC to bed. She’s five, and she’s in full on Halloween Excitement mode.

It occurred to me that one or two years of activities totally sets the tone for holidays and traditions at that age. For MC, Halloween has always been about pumpkins and cookies. But if Denisa and I had missed a year or two, she would have no real concept of them as “traditions.”

This isn’t making sense. Maybe an example from my own life will help clarify it.

In my head, I also associate pumpkin stew with Halloween. It’s a fun meal to make, and I remember my family making it “all the time” when I was growing up. (Take some stew, put it in a pumpkin, bake it in the oven. Though now that I think of it, I think a few times it was just “put already baked stew into a pumpkin.”) In any case, I’m not sure how many times my mom actually made that meal around Halloween. It might have been only three or four times total.

But time works differently when you don’t have as many years to compare things to. If Denisa and I skip a year of pumpkin carving, that’s just one year out of a slew of them. Skip one as a kid, and that’s a quarter or a fifth of all the Halloweens you’ve experienced.

Not like any of us needed any more incentives to do those traditions, but there you have it.

One of the main reasons I do these things with my family is because I remember doing them and loving them as a kid myself. One of the big perks as a parent is being able to pass on fun memories of your childhood to your kids, in the hopes that they’ll enjoy those same things. Sometimes that works. Other times it backfires. But when it involves fun and games and candy, experience has led me to believe it almost always goes fine.

In any case, another round of pumpkins are in the books! For reference, Tomas did a Rubiks cube, DC did an owl design she came up with on her own, MC and Denisa did an owl they found online, and I did a Cheshire Cat I saw a picture of online as well.


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