While it was important to me to teach my children the joy found in tradition, I may have inadvertently taught them that change is not a good thing. As my kids are now in their teens, they have certain expectations of how things are done and will not deviate from the accepted practices of their youth. Christmas traditions are now set in stone at my house and are under full management of my children.
Somewhere in our box or ornaments, is a "Hunchback of Notre Dame" ornament. It has always frightened my daughter, so my son makes sure to hang it as close as possible to her favorite ornament. She will look up with pride to see if her turtle's shell is properly closed and will gasp in horror when she sees the hunched over man suspended from the branch next to her turtle. It's not long until we have a missing turtle, the scary man is hidden in the back of the tree, someone is in tears and I'm decorating by myself.
I will stop to remind the kids how much we love decorating the tree and soon we are hanging tiny angels, hand made ornaments and miniature record players that play Christmas Carols. My son has more ornaments than my daughter because he is older and it doesn't take long before she is on the edge of tears as she believes that he has more special ornaments than she. This is usually another opportune moment for the Hunchback to reappear, this time sitting on a turtle. Tears ensue and I'm hanging ornaments alone again.
Before long, we have a tree full of memories that has been born out of years of love and tradition. I suppose my children are right that some things simply cannot be changed.