Building Family Traditions Creates Lifetime Memories


Birthdays, Thanksgiving, New Years, Fourth of July, Christmas. Many of us have family traditions for every holiday throughout the year. Year after year, we bring back the traditions that have been in the family for generations. Traditions can be fun, crazy, special, meaningful, or anything you want them to be! For me, my favorite family tradition is about creating memories that last a life time.

Several years ago, my family started a new Christmas tradition. Each year, my mom goes out and buys unfinished wooden ornaments in a variety of shapes, and a couple weeks before Christmas the whole family gathers around the table to paint them; there have been many years where our friends have joined in on the fun too! We turn on some Christmas tunes to get us in the holiday spirit, and get to work! In the past we’ve painted ornaments in the shape of sleds, Santa Claus, wreathes, snowmen, gingerbread men, and many more. Some of us get pretty competitive and creative with our designs, while the younger ones just join in for the fun of it. My mom and dad have even incorporated some Ukrainian elements to their paintings to represent my adopted siblings and their culture. When we are all finished, we write our name and the year on the back of each one.

So now, each year we pull out the ornaments from years past and hang them on the tree. We laugh when we look back at some of the more “abstractly” painted ones by the kids, or some of us choose to brag about whose ornament was the best that year (my older brother typically claims those bragging rights). It’s so amazing to look at the year on each ornament and remember who all was with us, and how our family has since then grown. In 2007, my two new sisters from Ukraine got to be a part of our tradition, and then again in 2010 my new little brother was now part of the family. It breaks my heart to think of them ever being without a family, especially around the holidays when so much of our time is spent with family, but now I’m grateful that we can create and share these traditions with them every year!

Painting ornaments every year may seem like a silly family tradition to someone else, but it is one that I cherish, and I hope to carry on with my children one day.

What family traditions have you shared or created with your new additions to the family?


For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here. Be sure to check out how you can be a part of MLJ’s Holiday Ornament Contest!

Jordan Kelly is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business where she majored in Marketing. As an assistant at MLJ Adoptions, Jordan does everything from event planning and managing social media, to writing blogs and designing advertisements.