I think we have a pretty tight, loving, loyal family.  In fact, I KNOW we do!  But even knowing this, I still question whether or not I am “doing it right” when I see what other mothers are posting on social media for every major holiday.  Pinterest is responsible for inspiring us, and Facebook and Instagram is where we show off how it worked out in our own homes.  I confess to getting caught up in the fantasy of Pinterest myself.  A few days before every holiday, I scan Pinterest for ideas of how to create the perfect holiday for our family. I pin ideas for lovely tablescapes, menu ideas, and room decorations.  Rarely however, do I ever put in the time, energy, and money into making those fantasies a reality. Part of my “problem” is my short memory.  I can’t remember what we ate or what we did from one year to the next unless I pull out some pictures on the computer.

Kayla is the most tradition-conscious member of our family, so she and I brainstormed this weekend while she was home on spring break about how we’re doing as a family in the area of family traditions. This is our analysis.

Easter ~   D-


Asuka in Wake Forest – waiting for our Easter sushi

What I intended:

  • Breakfast – Egg casserole, made the night before
  • Lunch – Ham, deviled eggs, Resurrection rolls, etc… Painted eggs  and fresh flowers for table decorations

What actually happened:

  • Breakfast – McDonald’s – which we ate in the car in the parking lot of church
  • Lunch – tomato soup and a nap on the couch (watching cooking shows of fabulous Easter brunches)
  • Dinner – sushi at a Japanese restaurant (not very traditional, but so delicious!)


Christmas ~  B-

I really try to get Christmas right, but I can never get it to look like my Pinterest boards!  I fill my boards with great ideas, but once I get to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to purchase the supplies that are on my list, I am appalled at the cost, intimidated by the amount of skill those decorations would require, and feeling guilty for even considering spending money on items that will be used for only one month of the year.  Every year, I plan to have a gorgeous

My new favorite Christmas ornament!

My new favorite Christmas ornament!

designer tree – you should see the beautiful ideas on my Christmas board – but every year, I pull out the mish-mash of ornaments that we have collected on vacations, were made by our children, or given to me by students. In the end, I always prefer those anyway over the glamorous shiny ones that I had refused to purchase at Michaels.

While some families have traditional menus every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we like to switch it up.  We’ve had chicken cordon bleu, lasagne, seafood, ham, etc…  But never turkey…by Christmas, we are tired of turkey leftovers because Pop always makes too much at Thanksgiving.

The only tradition that I can think of that we do as a family every single Christmas morning is to read the Christmas story from Luke before we open any presents.  And that’s where the traditions stop, but it’s a good one!


New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day ~  C


New’s Eve with the extended family (not pictured, Kayla, the best picture taker in the family)

While the rest of the world is enjoying an amazing party and ringing in the New Year with fireworks and parties, the Joyner family is napping on sofas, channel surfing, and at around 11:00, giving up and going to bed!

The next day is for taking down the Christmas tree (if I hadn’t already gotten rid of it earlier), and shopping for deals at the mall – unless we don’t want to, and we do something completely different.

Some years we have actually had a traditional New Year’s meal with ham and blackeyed peas, but I honestly can’t remember how often we’ve done that.


Thanksgiving  ~   We get an A !

Kayla says that we get this one right!  We still don’t have Thanksgiving at the same place every year, and the decorations are not Pinterest approved, but the

This is as "Pinterest" as it gets at Thanksgiving.

This is as “Pinterest” as it gets at Thanksgiving.

menu is always the same, or similar anyway, and always fabulous. Pop (my dad) usually makes the turkey, Brennen makes the gravy (with Pop watching over to be sure he gets it right), Nana (my mom) makes the stuffing, I cook the rest of the sides, and Kayla bakes a dessert.

We spend hours cooking, and minutes eating. The dinner conversation is one of our time honored traditions!  We WILL discuss the food for at least 80% of the conversation.  Compliments must be specific and original in order to be considered adequate.  Guests who describe the food as only “good” are encouraged to do better (or they are never invited back again!).

We detail the steps involved in the  preparation of various dishes, debate the integrity of the ingredients and their sources, and analyze each dish for possible improvements – all without giving or taking offense. The point is to enjoy this meal and those who share it, and to look forward to an even better meal next Thanksgiving.

I Give Up!

I’ve given up on trying to create the “perfect” holidays for our family. Our kids are grown, and they don’t appear to have suffered from not having a plethora of yearly holiday traditions. I’m totally fine with “good enough” when it comes to the menu and the decorations and the traditions because the holidays aren’t about being perfect. I want our children to remember holidays, not as photo ops, but as opportunities to take time off from our work and school obligations in order to spend time with the people we love – laughing, talking, listening, and enjoying their family and friends.

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