Festibond, the annual Danler holiday we started several years ago, has been a very rewarding and wonderful tradition for our family. Each year we choose a day at the end of December to celebrate Festibond. In the two weeks leading up to Festibond Brent and I have one-on-one dates with each of the girls and with each other. It is a valuable part of our bonding with each other, and I absolutely look forward to them.
This year we decided on December 29 for our Festibond. We always start out the day going out to eat for breakfast. Brent suggested The Good Table Restaurant in Cape Elizabeth this time. We wanted a place with good food and a nice atmosphere in which we could sit and talk without distractions. It was fun to be entertained by the girls and their singing and jokes as we drove up to Cape Elizabeth. The food was alright, but not amazing. However, when we all tried Hayley’s cinnamon bun we agreed that it was very good; each of the girls ordered one to take home. I enjoyed sitting with Brent and the girls around the table, talking, laughing, and discussing ideas and plans for the future.
2012 was the sixth year we did “Festibond.” It’s the annual celebration in which our singular purpose is to strengthen the bonds that hold our family together and make it great. It’s a collection of traditions including dates, letters, hugs, snacks, games, and breakfast. In 2007, the first year we had Festibond, it was an alternative to Christmas, a holiday I find incredibly silly. It’s no longer a replacement holiday; Festibond is entirely its own thing, and Christmas is something other people do.
Saturday, December 29, was the day this year that worked best with all of our schedules. In the weeks prior, we drafted our letters to each other and planned and went on dates. I took Skye to a Portland Pirates hockey game, Jenna bowling, Hayley to a movie, and Kirsten and I, who don’t normally go out as part of Festibond, went to dinner and watched a movie.
This past Friday Skye I went out for our annual Festibond date. It is such a treat to spend time with her, especially now as she has approached her teen years and is becoming less available.
Skye enjoyed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and she was excited when she learned the latest Hobbit movie would be coming out in theaters on Friday. I don’t usually care for science fiction and fantasy; however I did like the Lord of the Rings. Perhaps it’s partly because I have special memories of listening to the story on LP records when I was a kid. Continue reading Festibond 2012 – My Date With Skye→
Today on my date with dad for Festibond we went ice skating and we went to lunch. I had a great time.
First we went ice skating at the Portland Ice Arena. They only take cash but dad only had two dollars in cash so we had to find a ATM machine. It was hard finding a ATM machine. We had to walk a long way to find a ATM machine and it was cold. ‘Fun’ can not possibly be the correct word for finding a ATM machine. When we found a ATM machine we went back to the ice skating rink and rented some skates.
Once we got on our skates we went out onto the rink. I held my dad’s hand tightly so I wouldn’t fall. Daddy seemed to just be pulling me around the ice so I was just gliding around. I enjoyed ice skating a lot. I asked dad many questions about hockey, like where they put the net, if he played hockey as a kid, and if he ever saw his friends fall on the ice while they were playing.
This year Hayley wanted to go ice skating for our Festibond date. Which was great, because I wanted to go, too.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Portland Ice Arena we discovered that it’s a cash-only operation and I only had $2. We walked down the hill to a credit union with a drive-up-only ATM. So we walked a bit further and found an ATM that would dispense the cash we needed. It was a chilly walk that took time away from skating, but it was nice being together. I gave Hayley a piggy-back and shoulder ride much of the way, which she enjoyed.
My Festibond date with Jenna yesterday was wonderful. She asked to go bowling, then to dinner. So that’s what we did.
We bowled at Bayside Bowl for an hour. Jenna used the lane bumpers, but got good enough that she wasn’t using them much. She asked for lots of bowling tips, and I gladly gave her my best advice. One thing I love about Jenna is her dedication to perfection and perseverance. Many times she made her approach only to stop, reset and try again. She makes me very proud.
I always look forward to Festibond, and the preparations add to my excitement. My sisters and I baked goodies with mom, and we all spent time writing thoughtful letters to each other. I used the thesaurus a lot for my letters, not wanting to use many boring and overused words. I discovered some new words such as “hankering” and “gratify.” I enjoyed expanding my vocabulary while writing my letters.
I absolutely love our annual Festibond family tradition. Nothing generates closeness, love, and enjoyment like this holiday we created a few years ago.
In preparation for Festibond, I did some baking with the girls. Each of them picked a treat they liked, and I baked with them each individually. Of course we also spent a lot of time writing our special Festibond letters to each other.
It’s been five years since we stopped celebrating Christmas and made up our own tradition: Festibond. While our Festibond activies have evolved over the years–we didn’t give each other gifts this year–we have kept true to the intent: maximize family bonds through quality time, letters of affection and lots of hugs. Festibond 2011 has been all that and more.
Yesterday morning we started Festibond at Cracker Barrel in South Portland. It was less than awesome, but we enjoyed being together. After breakfast I finished writing my letter to Kirsten while she and the girls made final preparations of the bounty of tasty snacks.
Festibond this year was on December 27. We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, like we did last year. It was really loud and distracting. I ordered cinnamon streusel French toast with bacon and eggs. The streusel tasted like cinnamon rolls. It was very delicious. I also ordered hot cocoa. The food was good, but we didn’t enjoy Cracker Barrel very much, so we’re planning to go to Sea Dog Brewing next year.