On Sunday the 29th of December our family celebrated our seventh Festibond. This is a tradition we started as a way to celebrate and strengthen our bonds with each other every year. We love this tradition, and I hope the girls continue it after they grow up and move away.
Within the week prior to Festibond, Brent and I each take each of the girls out individually for a date. The girls get to choose what they want to do. We still seem to come up with new ideas every year. We have each written a post on our blog about the dates. I love having that special one-on-one time with each of my wonderful daughters. They all change a little every year (obviously), each one unique in their own way. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of my dates!
The Danler family on Festibond.
Hayley and I had our Festibond date planned for several weeks. She and I were going to make a gingerbread house together. She was very excited about it. We also planned on going to a movie afterward. The day before our date, we went shopping for candy. It was fun to plan our our house ahead of time, and then find the plethora of candy necessary to achieve our creation. We found a good gingerbread recipe and used stencils I’d printed out from a website.
We baked the gingerbread pieces the day before our date as well, because I learned that it would make the gingerbread more dried-out and sturdy. Skye kindly volunteered to take pictures, so most of the photos I give credit to her. Thank you, Skye!
We used muffin tins to separate all the candy.
It took Skye a while to decide what she wanted to do for our Festibond date together. Early last week she said, “Let’s get manicures.” I thought that was a great idea. I usually keep my fingernails really short because they annoy me when I’m typing. Fortunately I hadn’t gotten around to cutting them for a while, so they would look better with polish.
We started out our date last Friday the 27th driving to Portland with music blasting while we loudly and enthusiastically sang along. It’s a tradition of ours when we ride in the car together, and great fun. Our first stop was Miss Portland Diner for breakfast. We’ve been there several times, so we knew the food was pretty good. Skye had her usual eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast, as well as a hot chocolate. I ordered the Greek omelette, which was really good. Spinach, mushrooms, and feta cheese make almost anything better. It was really nice sitting with Skye and talking about various things going on in her life.
Skye smiles over her breakfast at Miss Portland Diner.
Jenna loves the arts and especially enjoys attending the theater to watch plays. When I asked her if she’d like to see a play for our Festibond date together this year, she quickly said yes. I originally wanted to take her to see Annie playing at the Lyric Music Theater in South Portland. I’d met a couple of great people at TEDxDirigo last month who were both performing in it. Unfortunately by the time I tried to purchase tickets, it was sold out. I searched other theater, ballet, and music venues, and Jenna decided on The Snow Queen playing at Portland Stage.
Jenna reads the program for the play “Snow Queen” that she and I attended at Portland Stage for our Festibond date.
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.
Breakfast at The Good Table
The girls and me
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.
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.
Family Photo for Festibond of 2011
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.
Sweethearts in love!
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.
Skye and Kirsten share a hug
Yesterday was Festibond. Festibond is a tradition where the family gets together to play games, read letters to each other, and have a big family breakfast.
First we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I got the cinnamon streusel. We had a lot of plates but our table was small, it was loud, and some of the food was disgusting. We decided not to go there next year for Festibond.
Breakfast at Cracker Barrel