Making New Traditions with the Family
Building Strong Memories
The traditions your family shares often build the strongest memories. Whether it is around the holidays, or a special something for family birthdays, or something you do daily, common rituals can strengthen the family bond, provide comfort, teach values and connect generations.
Traditions are one of the constants in an ever-changing world that say we are a family, and they can help us welcome a new situation, like a divorce, or a new member of the family. A family divide, like a divorce, can seem less welcoming with the start of new traditions, keeping a continuation of old traditions helps reassure loved ones during changing times.
Always remember to record your traditions and special events for you and your loved ones. Taking photos of the traditions and event will help cement a family together and speak of the love you share. Remember when you’re gone it is only those photos with you in them, that speak about family. Those are the pictures your family will remember for a lifetime. So always include yourself in that picture of the kids riding the water slide, they will keep it in their hearts forever.
If you need ideas for a new tradition, or are looking to add to your list, check out these suggestions:
- Use the same tablecloth every Thanksgiving and have each family member write down what they are thankful for that year. Not only is this a fun activity, but you will also have the tablecloth to keep and add to for years/generations.
- Host a homemade pizza night – everyone gets to choose his or her own toppings.
- Is the sky doing something cool? When you hear the news of a comet, lunar eclipse or meteor shower, stay up late with the kids and watch the stars.
- Start a family Olympics tradition and get all generations to participate in a variety of activities, both physical and intellectual.
- Celebrate the first day of summer by making s’mores in the backyard.
- Kick-off a holiday party by having a family member dress up as a beloved character (Santa or the Easter Bunny). As everyone grows older, this will become funnier.
- Find a special spot to vacation and return frequently.
- Make Valentine’s Day about your children and take them out to dinner to celebrate.
- Does your family have a favorite sports team? Invest in watching them play as a family every year and view all the other games from the couch with classic tailgating food.
- Create a language so that you can say “congrats” and “thank you” to each other in a special way.
- Go camping in the backyard. Check out these tips to make the adventure awesome.
- Create a “Grateful Jar” for everyone in the family to write down what they are grateful for whenever they feel compelled to do so. When the jar is full do something fun to celebrate and read all the notes.
- Play the “Flour Game” during the holidays.
- Measure your child against their bedroom door jam every year, at the same time, and the same place. Record it with a picture they can keep.
- Make a photo album of traditions and special events for your loved ones.
Creating Family Traditions
It is normal for traditions to change over time. Factors like age, new family members and dying family members introduce the possibility for creating new customs. Keep the following tips in mind when defining your family traditions:
- Make them personal
- Find the lesson
- Create and eliminate traditions as needed
- Don’t force your childhood traditions
- Take pictures (remember to take pictures of people – that’s the actual memory)
- Don’t panic if you skip the tradition
Traditions can be big or small. They can occur every year or every day. The important part is that traditions bring your family together and create happy memories. If you keep your focus on the memories, you cannot go wrong when creating new customs and traditions for you and your loved ones.
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- 10 Family Traditions for the New Year, by themotherhuddle.com
- 60+ Family Tradition Ideas, by artofmanliness.com
- Why Family Traditions are Important, by Jamie Moesser
- 15 Meaningful Holiday traditions and Fun Family Activities, by Jen Betterley
- Family Traditions: The Ties That Bind, by Dr. Susan Coady
- The History of Wedding Traditions, by brideandgroom.com
- Christmas Traditions: When did they start, by allthingschristmas.com
- 10 Awesome 4th of July Traditions, by artofmanliness.com
- Family Birthday Traditions, by pbs.org
- Family Traditions and Customs, by Stephen Colbert
- Easter symbols and Traditions, by history.com
- History of Thanksgiving Tradition, by history.com
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- Family Cultural Traditions, by Utah Education Network
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- The Book of New Family Traditions, by Meg Cox
- Family Customs and Traditions, by Cynthia MacGregor
- iTunes Top 50 Traditional Holiday & Christmas Movies, available to rent or buy for a fee