Pizza Night Movie Night :: How a Tradition was Born

Pizza Night Movie Night :: How a Tradition was Born

I love traditions. Baking shortbread cookies and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas; cooking my special whiskey-glazed sweet potatoes and sharing our blessings at Thanksgiving; attending morning Mass on Easter, followed by a festive brunch and an egg hunt. So many of our traditions revolve around events or special days, but they can even be something simple and quick. When I was a child and we were leaving my grandparents’ house, my dad always honked several times as he was pulling away from the drive. My husband’s family performed elaborate jumping jacks as people drove away from the family cottage

Are Traditions Only for Holidays?

Traditions, for all the joy they bring us, are usually thought of as special occasions or once in a while events. They do not typically factor into our everyday lives. We rush around, schlepping our kids from activity to activity; hustling to cook, clean, and care for our homes; stressing to meet deadlines at work or at home; and just in general, trying to get through the daily grind and general drudgery of life. But it struck me recently that these tasks are life. These daily activities and early childhood years are not something to be rushed through so that we can be less busy and start our “real” lives. This is life, happening right now around us. 

Life can be full of traditions. They can be big or small; elaborate or simple. They can be conducted during holidays or maybe on a summer vacation. And, as I’ve recently come to discover, they can be a part of that daily or weekly grind.

A Tradition is Born

Several months ago, a neighbor told me about a weekly movie night at their house. Every Friday, they order a pizza, and their son selects a movie for them to watch. At the time, I felt bogged down by a season of that drudgery I mentioned earlier; my husband was working late hours, our two year old was going through a, shall we say, spirited phase, and I was feeling overwhelmed with the stay at home mom life. So that night, I suggested to my husband that we have a pizza night that weekend. I had doubts about how my son would handle sitting still for a movie, but we decided to go for it. We made it a whole thing: we camped out in the living room and ate at this old red table that my dad built when I was a kid, we let Thomas choose the movie {How to Train Your Dragon}, and we each selected pizza toppings for our pizza. 

The evening was so fun and was just what we needed. We relaxed, enjoyed a movie, and, most importantly, I didn’t have to cook {okay, maybe not the most important, but it’s pretty high up there}. We enthusiastically agreed we should try it again the following weekend. But when Saturday came around, we made plans and were prepared to let our movie night slide. Or so we thought. We had told Thomas that we planned to watch a movie again, and, as every parent of a toddler knows, they do not easily forget. 

“But Mama, you said…” 

Oops. As we were already leaving for dinner with friends, we couldn’t change our plans, so we told him we’d do it Monday night. And you’d better believe when my husband pulled up the driveway that evening, Thomas ran out and shouted, “IT’S PIZZA TIME!”

Pizza Night Movie Night :: How a Tradition was Born

Now, it’s something we all look forward to every week. We bust out the red table, pick a movie {it must be a new movie}, and enjoy a pepperoni and olive pizza {raise your hand if your toddler loves olives!} Since Thomas is two, it’s not always a perfect evening, but, generally, we come away from “pizza night movie night” feeling closer as a family. 

Keeping Our Balance

As Tevya so eloquently states in “Fiddler on the Roof”, “How do we keep our balance? That, I can tell you in one word: tradition!”

Now, Tevya was referring to how his family perseveres in their poor Ukranian village of Anatevka, but I think it works for our modern daily lives as well. When we’re always focused on the next task, the next accomplishment, the next whatever, we tend to lose sight of the ground in front of us, knocking us off balance. Participating in special traditions, especially when they involve family {intermediate or extended} and friends, helps us stay grounded in what’s really important in life. They help us to slow down, to be intentional, and to enjoy the day to day. And, most importantly, they remind us that we can celebrate our family always and often, not just during Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

What traditions does your family celebrate?


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