Mum’s the Word: Family Traditions

This month our mummy blogger, Dolly Osborne, talks family traditions…

The coming of a New Year is heavy laden with tradition: the fireworks, the midnight kisses, the singing of Auld Lang Syne without actually understanding what you are singing, the hangovers…

It’s got me thinking about the traditions I grew up with and what I want my children to inherit. New Year brought two big traditions to the child Dolly. I had my grandparents annual laying out of coal, bread and money, and then I had New Year’s resolutions. The annual procession of my grandmother with her collection of objects never grasped my interest but resolutions did.

The New Year’s resolutions brought the promise of change. I could and would better myself in the New Year I would say, I could look at all of the bad habits I had and I could smite them with one list. The New Year would be the year of the new me.


Though it hardly ever worked. Diets would fail, journals would lay empty, exercise equipment frantically bought in the January sales would gather dust and come December I would deride myself for being a failure, for not being good enough, for not changing as I had resolved to do. And so it goes on, year after year, generation after generation; a strange annual group masochism.

So when I sat down this year to think of the New Year and what rituals I will undertake I thought past the resolution habit I had inherited & back to the odd New Year that I spent with my Nanny and Grandad. My Nanny was so beloved to me and on reflection I see this great gift she gave me that I had never unwrapped: each New Year she left outside a lump of coal, a slice of bread and a 10 pence piece to ask for another year of enough warmth, enough food and enough money to live. Not more, not asking for a miraculous transformation but simply asking for enough.

And that is the philosophy I want my children to receive: time naturally brings change, we can’t force it with resolutions and impractical deadlines. We should just hope for enough resources to see us through the next 12 months and hope that is enough to get us past the inevitable curveballs that are served. So no more setting up for failure, let’s just prepare ourselves for life. Happy New Year.

Read more from Dolly at or follow her on Twitter @Osborneosaurus

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