Family Traditions and Our Christmas Travel Tree
Why create family traditions? Family traditions are a great way to create strong bonds and shared memories! Family traditions don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. They just need to have meaning for your family. When I was a little girl, I remember working in the garden each summer with my sister, my cousins, and my mom and grandmother. As we girls sat under a big shade tree to shuck corn or shell peas, we had some word games that we played as we worked. I don’t know if I would have thought of that as a family tradition back then, but now it’s one of my happiest summer memories, and I definitely think of it as a family tradition from my childhood.
My immediate family has developed some fun family traditions over the years, and one of our favorites is buying a Christmas ornament whenever we travel. Whether we’re going on a *HEART trip, taking a vacation, or tagging along on one of my husband’s work trips, we buy an ornament at each new attraction or state. I don’t really remember how or when this tradition began, but we’ve been doing it for quite a few years.
(*If you don’t know what a HEART trip is, you can find out more by clicking here! In a nutshell, though, they are Homeschool Road Trips–educational field trips for homeschooling families. We have a great time, learn a lot, and get to know other homeschooling families!)
This year I decided to start a new family tradition–putting up a travel tree for Christmas. Since we’ve collected quite a few ornaments, I thought it would be fun to have a separate tree–a small one–just to display the ornaments we’ve collected on our travels. I hope to collect many more and to have to have a much larger travel tree in the future, but my small one is perfect for this year.
In the picture above, you can see (top right corner) a hot air balloon. That ornament is from the trip Trish and I took to Gallup, New Mexico, a few weeks ago. (We’ll be taking a Homeschool Road Trip back there in October of 2019! We’ll share information about it here on the site once we have the details ready.) We went on our very first hot air balloon ride, so I bought an ornament to remember it. (And yes, we’ll be doing balloon rides when we go back in 2019!) The “Rice Krispy Treat” shaped like Micky Mouse on the left is from a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando several years ago. The gold planet is from our HEART trip to Space Camp in Hunstville, Alabama, in October of 2017.
In the picture above, you can see the space shuttle ornament I got from Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. I got it when we returned to Space Camp in October of 2018. The big Hershey’s Kiss on the upper right is from a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, when my son and younger daughter and I went to see a friend one year in November. (I’ve never been so cold in my entire life as I was on that trip!!) The turtle with the Christmas lights wrapped around it was from a cruise to Cozumel that my husband surprised me with when our children were little and I was afraid to go. (But I ended up being glad I went! It was awesome!) And the bottom right ornament–the little bird with the Santa hat–is from one of our mission trips to Peru. (My family goes to Pucallpa and Lima–both in Peru–on a mission trip each year in July.)
The old-fashioned RV in this picture is from a Homeschool Road Trip to Niagara Falls this past September. Trish and I took a group of families to several attractions in and around Niagara Falls, New York. Before the group of families joined us, though, Trish, her three boys, and my younger daughter and I went RV camping at Jellystone in North Java. I thought this ornament fit perfectly since it includes our camping trip and our HEART trip to Niagara Falls–both represented in one ornament.
There are so many different ways to create meaningful family traditions. And the good news is that they don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. They just have to mean something to your family. If you’re interested in reading about some more fun family traditions that you might want to adopt, we have more ideas and suggestions here!
Do you have any family tradition ideas to share? If so, please leave a comment telling us about them!
I LOVE THIS! We have always purchased a new family ornament for our tree each year, but haven’t ever thought about doing travel ornaments. I think this may be something we start doing!
We make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake every year. It is never Christmas colors and my brother sneaks a piece before we sing and blow out candles.