Our family tradition of Festibond seems to get better each year as we continually improve it, building on the things that make it so great. It is centered around creating bonds and strengthening our relationships with each other.
This year we celebrated Festibond on December 27. One or two days before Festibond we bake treats that we can enjoy on Festibond day. Each of the girls picks something they want to make, and I cook with each of them separately. I purchased the ingredients on Christmas Eve, and we baked our treats on Christmas day because all businesses are inconveniently closed then.
The integral part of Festibond is the writing of thoughtful and meaningful letters to each other. We all begin drafting our letters several weeks before Festibond which gives each of us time to reflect on those things we love and appreciate about each member of the family. We encourage the girls to recall specific events and examples from the past year which makes the letters even more meaningful, special, and current.
We always start out Festibond going to breakfast. This year we went to the Cracker Barrel. My breakfast was pretty good (yogurt, fresh fruit, granola). The girls enjoyed the peg games that were on the table, and I bought some in the gift shop after breakfast for them to play in the car.
After breakfast and some unrelated shopping, we stopped to assemble the Festibond booklets. We each had a personalized booklet with our name on the front cover and the letters to us inside. I could sense everyone’s excitement and anticipation as we prepared to read our letters to each other after we returned home. Hayley first read the letters she wrote to each person followed by a hug, her gift to that person, and another hug. She continued that way with each family member. After Hayley finished we continued taking turns until we’d all read our letters.
Following are excerpts from the letters written by the girls:
From Skye to Brent
You have pushed me into being a good student and to work hard. That has really paid off. I absolutely love that I know how to think and use my intelligence.
I’m glad that you are proud of all the great things that I’m doing. You really make me feel better and more confident about doing something when I’m really nervous.
From Hayley to Jenna
I’m glad you help me pick out my outfits for school. You are really good at picking out nice clothes that match and look good on me. I think you always look nice, and I especially like when you make us match each other.
From Jenna to Skye
You’re probably going to be an author some day. I’ll be honest: You wrote some pretty good books.
I can guess why you have so many friends. You’re confident and kind. You are friendly with everyone, and you are a responsible and hard worker.
From Skye to Hayley
You’re so funny. When you tell a joke–even if it’s not a tween-age joke–the way you say it makes me laugh. Your expressions crack me up.
The heartfelt letters elicited intense emotion and love. I appreciated the thoughtfulness and sincerity that went into each of them and cannot adequately describe the incredible feelings I had as I listened to what everyone had to say and watched the expressions on everyone’s faces. We decided not to give gifts to each other after this year, as the giving of gifts doesn’t add value to our Festibond and seems to take away from the letters.
We spent the remainder of the day eating the treats we’d baked and other snacks, playing games (UNO, Pit, and Apples to Apples), and just enjoying each other’s company. The final part of our Festibond tradition involves Brent and I taking each of the girls on dates. The dates (six total) fall within the two weeks surrounding Festibond. This is a wonderful opportunity for Brent and I to each spend one-on-one time with them. I love this part of Festibond, and it could definitely be done more frequently.