Family traditions are the rituals and practices a family shares that strengthen that family’s bonds and create lasting memories.
Traditions, those things we do much the same way over and over again, provide a source of identity, comfort, and security. They reinforce family values. Kids love traditions!
Traditions can be elaborate and complex or simple but meaningful.
According to this study cited in this article from The Atlantic, the time we spend focusing on anticipation, experiences, and simply being together can have a profound impact on how much we enjoy life.
Traditions give families assurance that even in an uncertain and changing world, there are some things they can count on to always be the same.
The way I see it, anything you do in the same way at the same time, year after year becomes a tradition. Whatever it is, if you’ve done it once but plan to do it again, it counts as a tradition.
Make a list of your family’s best traditions. Talk about them, treat them with a sense of respect and joy. Explore ideas for intentionally spending meaningful time together and then repeat often.
In time, your family traditions—especially those related to Christmas—will become trusted anchors in your children’s lives.
Need a nudge to start some new traditions in your family this holiday season? Here are a few ideas to get started.
IDEA: Honor your family’s heritage by teaching your kids how to make the foods of that country or region. Learn the songs and customs of that culture.
IDEA: As Christmas draws nearer, go out into your community to look at the lights. You can do this on a night close to Christmas. Everyone gets ready for bed (PJs on, teeth brushed), then the whole family piles into the car for your family’s Annual Christmas Lights, Pajama Caper Drive. Take blankets along to add coziness. Only the adults know the exact time this will happen! Choose your favorite house—everyone in the family gets a vote. If you’re especially ambitious, drop off a Christmas card thanking them for “brightening” your holiday season.
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IDEA: When no one is looking, Santa’s elves string Christmas lights in the kids’ rooms. No matter how many times you do this, it will still be the best surprise.
IDEA: Establish a decadent, yummy entree or special treat you eat only on Christmas morning. Let your mind wander. The more decadent the better! Something like these Cinnamon Rolls, perhaps?
IDEA: For the 12 days before Christmas establish a Hot Chocolate Bar that you set up in a central area on a tray. In addition to your Homemade Mix, add jars of fun toppings like sprinkles, mini marshmallows, candy canes and so on. Make sure it’s all ready to go especially when the kids come in from playing in the snow.
IDEA: If yours is a fairly musical family, bring back the classic tradition of bundling up to go caroling throughout the neighborhood. You’ll do better if you have caroling books with musical score and lyrics so everyone is on the same tune and verse at the same time. Don’t be surprised if others in the neighborhood want to join you on your journey. That could make the tradition even better.
IDEA: Create a new tradition for Christmas with The Kindness Elves, an alternative to the popular Elf on the Shelf idea. The point is to focus on positive, character-building activities for kids. Teaching love, kindness and gratitude is the action with a hope to raise kids who move away from entitlement attitudes, which is creeping into our modern generation.
IDEA: The first night that the tree is decorated and lit, the whole family sleeps around it. Kids love the magic of falling asleep with the tree lights on!
Do you have a Christmas tradition that holds your family together? Scroll down to the comments area below to share, please!