Family Traditions — A Collection of Short Stories

family traditions

family traditions
Photo courtesy, Shelby Spear

The Emotional Staying Power of a Donut

By Shelby Spear

Powdered sugar on chapped lips. The pasty residue from donuts that sticks to the corners of mouths and cracks apart during toothy grins disarms me every Christmas.

Each year our family travels to the same local farm to select and cut down our Christmas tree. Many traditions make up the event, such as snowball fights within the pines, a family picture in front of a covered bridge, snapshots of each kid sprawled under the tree taking their turn sawing the trunk, and proud he-man hubby raising cut tree high above his head.

But it’s seeing the white dust on my kids’ rosy lips over the past seventeen years which continues to caramelize my mom heart. The Christmas tree farm always provides complimentary hot cider, cocoa, and powdered donuts to the patrons. After selecting our tree the five of us gobble up the goodies. Although the cider and cocoa do wonders for warming me up from the cold, the donut mouths melt my heart and somehow convince me my kids are still kids despite their full-grown adultness.

Our babies were two, four, and six when the tradition began. I can still remember their chubby faces peeking out from under stocking caps and thick scarves. There was just enough face showing to jam a donut in. Now I have one with a full beard and mustache which means, even more area for the powder to stick to.

I’ve already begun to prepare my heart for the inevitable end to our cherished family event. Significant others, relocations, and other circumstances will mark the beginning of each child establishing their own rituals. Sure, sadness will consume me, but gratitude for all the years come and gone will carry me through. I am blessed.


Shelby is a Christian mom to three beautiful knuckleheads who have left her with an empty nest in which to ponder what the mom thing has (done to her) meant over the past twenty-two years. You can read her open book of revelations, screw-ups, gaffs, and joys at http://shelbyspear.com and connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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4 comments

  1. GREAT STORY. AFTER MY DIVORCE WE INVITED OTHER DIVORCEES ALONG WITH THEIR CHILDREN . EVERYONE BROUGHT A POT LUCK DISH AND A GRAB BAG [ AND IT COULD BE ANYTHING UNDER $5.] EVEN HANDMADE GLOVES, SCARFS.SOAP,TOOTHBRUSHES, UNO CARDS, SLINKIES ETC. WE KEPT ON EXCHANGING THEN UNTIL EVERYONE HAD SOMETHING THEY REALLY WANTED OR COULD USE. A LOT OF LAUGHTER WAS SHARED BY ALL . NOW THAT MY KIDS ARE SCATTERED ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AS ARE MY GRANDCHILDREN ,THE MEMORIES ARE STILL THERE. Marjie

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About The Author Kristin Helms

Corporate life turned stay-at-home #momlife, Kristin Helms is a mother of two, writer, and founder of Tribe Magazine. Her mommy musings have been published on The Huffington Post, Literary Mama, Pregnant Chicken, and Big City Moms, among others.