Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Spaghetti

Our children look forward to three things each Christmas morning;  A fire in the fireplace, a stuffed animal peeking out of each of their Christmas stockings, and bacon.

Christmas Dinner isn’t something they spend much time considering. Traditions are significant to our children. The actual food we consume on Christmas isn’t. (Other than the aforementioned bacon, that is.)

So we make it easy on ourselves.

A couple days before Christmas, I make spaghetti sauce. On Christmas afternoon, I move the pot of sauce from our refrigerator to the range and warm it while preparing pasta from a blue box. Matt slices grocery store bread.

Dinner is served.

The tradition of “Christmas Spaghetti” may not be the tradition our kids are looking forward to, but it is a tradition. They do enjoy it and it simplifies our lives. Most importantly, it’s something we can make happen in most any circumstance (barring our stove joining the band of rebel appliances currently waging war against us.)

Our children from hard places cling to traditions. Each time a tradition transpires, their safety is reinforced. Trust is built.

A week before Thanksgiving, one of our sons asked Matt if we would be doing our “Thanksgiving Tradition” this year. Matt was perplexed so he asked our son which tradition he was referring to.

His response:  Taking turns saying what we’re thankful for.

More than he was looking forward to the aroma of turkey, watching football, or pie, our son was anticipating the Thanksgiving tradition he’d come to expect.

This morning, Facebook reminded me of how “brilliant” we are at parenting with the following post from 2015:

Most brilliant parenting move we've made: The tradition of Christmas Spaghetti. If you set the bar low early enough, nobody knows the difference. In fact, we all prefer the freedom that accompanies simplicity.

While making spaghetti doesn’t really qualify as genius, simplicity lowers our family’s stress.

Complexity increases our family’s stress.

Simplicity + Tradition is an unstoppable formula in our family.

When we create complex traditions, we set ourselves up for repeated failure.

We set our children up for insecurity.

While spaghetti isn't their favorite food, there is no worthy substitute for Christmas Spaghetti as far as our children are concerned.

It’s simple.

And it’s our tradition.

I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions here or on Facebook!


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! We are going out of town with my parents for the holidays this year. My mom was originally planning to take the whole family out for dinner, and then the other night was like "What if I just make spaghetti instead?" and we were like "PERFECT!" much more low key, plus, I'm positive my kids don't care one bit about turkey.

    1. This makes me smile, Erin! I hope you have safe travels and your whole family enjoys their time together (and their Christmas Spaghetti too!).

      For us, the more simple we can make things, the more fun we have. I might also have a new Thanksgiving tradition that started this year: Ordering the whole meal from Boston Market :)

      Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. This is just great Nicole! As you know, this is my first Christmas with my family in a while and I've been thinking a lot about forming simple and meaningful traditions. Thanks for sharing yours!

    1. I read this comment when I woke up and couldn't stop smiling, Nneamaka! Our family is so happy for your family!!! The tradition of spending Christmas together must be a beautiful tradition for you already.

      Wishing you and your beautiful family the best Christmas ever. We miss you and we're thrilled for you!

  3. We don't have Christmas spaghetti but we have Christmas lasagna. We used to do Christmas day with my Grandma, aunts and uncles on my dad's side, but after she passed, some family drama ensued and now Christmas day dinner is usually just my mom, dad, sister and I (once and awhile my uncle too). When this happened, my dad started making his "famous" lasagna and it's become a tradition that I think we all look forward to!

    1. I love that, Katie (not the family drama, but the fun solution). It sounds like your dad's lasagna is truly famous!

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. This sounds amazing! We unfortunately already have a menu for Christmas, but I think I'll definitely serve this up for Christmas Eve dinner!

    1. Serving spaghetti on Christmas Eve is my mother-in-law's tradition, Kayla. That's probably the origin of our Christmas tradition. Merry Christmas!


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