Tag Archives: family

Millennial Mom Monday – New Traditions

Getting married and having children means blending the traditions of your own family with those of your spouse.  This really shows up around special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays.

Our first Christmas together, I hadn’t thought to tell my husband that, in my family, Santa had begun to fill the stockings of the grown-ups as well as the children, some years ago. This meant there was some awkwardness on Christmas morning when only one of us had a sock full of loot. Easily remedied the next year and ever since, as you can imagine.

On birthdays around here there is a choice: Mum’s sponge cake or Dad’s dense Biscuit Cake (the crumb-filled and delicious chocolate slab his mother made for him).

But as well as adopting our parents’ traditions we have gradually been building our own.

After lugging a real christmas tree home (the first year in a shopping cart, because we lived in the city, didn’t own a car, and had underestimated how much a real tree weighed. The next year hanging out of the back of our tiny Mitsubishi), Kevin never has the energy to do much but observe as I, kid at heart, drag out the tinsel and the baubles and decorate the tree. So now, every year, I decorate the tree while Kevin snaps pictures from the safety of his armchair, and tells me when I’ve left a bare spot.

A few years ago, now that we had a couple of kids who were probably old enough not to eat the fallen pine needles, we thought it would be fun to go back to a real tree. We were seized with the urge to go and cut down our own Christmas tree; something we had heard other people talking about doing year after year. We thought it sounded kind of crazy but kind of nice, and that we’d give it a try.

From that first ‘timber’, it has been something our boys look forward to, and take for granted now. Their excitement over this new tradition is the thing that drags us out of the house on the first weekend in December that doesn’t include high winds or sub-zero temperatures, and gets Kevin face down in the mud with a hacksaw.


So what new traditions have you formed in your family?

Leave your comments here

Frugal Friday – Victorian Parlour Games

This Friday night, instead of shelling out your hard-earned dollars for a movie all of you can agree on but none of you will love, gather the family in your version of the Parlour and try out some good old Victorian Parlour Games.

Kids will love them, you’ll spend time together, and everyone will be encouraged to get a little silly, which does wonders for your relationships.

Don’t remember any Victorian Parlour Games? Not to worry, I have a selection below:

Everyone, except the chosen “clown”, assumes a pose, somewhere in the room — the sillier the better. You can stand on one leg, draw an imaginary bow like Cupid, strike a heroic pose. (You may stand with your arms crossed,scowling if you must). When everyone has chosen their pose, they stand still as statues. Now the clown begins his/her work.

The clown passes from person to person trying to make them laugh or smile by pulling funny faces, telling jokes etc. If the statue cracks, they’re out. The statue who stays serious and still the longest wins, and becomes the new clown.

source: Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood


One person chooses an object in the room and shows it to everyone. Everyone else leaves the room while the object is hidden. When they come back in, everyone must look for the item. When they see it they should go and sit down. The last person to find it loses, and is the hider next time.
You don’t want to make it obvious where you saw the object, so that you don’t help the other players too much. The misdirection can be as much fun as the search. I imagine this would work better in a Victorian-style knick-knack-cluttered living room, rather than a modern, minimalist home!

source: Seeds of Knowledge


One person is blindfolded while everyone else moves around them, quietly. The blindman blunders around trying to catch people. If he does, he then gets to paw them (those saucy Victorians!) and try to guess who he has caught. If he is correct, the captured becomes the next blindman, otherwise the first blindman keeps trying.

source: every children’s birthday party I ever attended (and in those days you still wore floor length ‘party dresses’ to proper parties!).


A game for families with children old enough to write.

Take long strips of paper, one for each person. Each person writes something on the paper, folds it over and passes it to the next person, over and over again until each of these things have been written:

1, A woman’s name
2, A man’s name
3, Place name
4, He said…
5, She said…
6, A consequence.

Everyone opens up the paper they end up with and read the ‘story’ like this.

“Florence Nightingale met Frank Sinatra at Chuckie Cheese’s. He said …. then she said… and the consequence was…”

Sometimes it’s downright surreal, sometimes silly, and sometimes it really works out…with hilarious results.
source: rainy Sunday afternoons in my childhood.


For the less literary, there are picture consequences, which work the same way. Instead of story lines, you draw a head and neck, then fold down the paper. The next person draws a body and arms, the next legs, and the last one feet. You can also add a name at the bottom. Unravel to create fabulous creatures.
source: rainy Sunday afternoons in my earlier childhood.


Everyone writes down the name of a famous person on a slip of paper, folds it and puts it in a bowl. Pass the bowl to the first person, who becomes the first clue-giver. They must try to get the person next to them to guess the name, without saying anything too obvious (for example you couldn’t say, “His first name is Frank and he’s a singer” or even “His initials are FS”. You have 30 seconds to try to get someone to guess. If they do, you both get a point. If not, the name goes back in the bowl and it is the next person’s turn.
source: Seeds of Knowledge


All of which should be enough to keep you going.

And I didn’t even mention “Charades”.