Creating Family Traditions for the Holidays
A tradition is something that a person or family does year after year. Traditions are often the one thing that stands out when an adult looks back on their childhood. They bring smiles to their faces and help them remember their family and where they come from. Holidays are one of the times when traditions become prominent. It’s easy to create a tradition during the holidays because they are annual events and because they are special.
Why Family Traditions for The Holidays Matter
For a parent, a tradition may seem silly. Everything changes so why bother creating a tradition? Also, there’s the pressure that you’ll have to uphold the tradition every year. (kind of like “Elf on the Shelf“) Your children will come to expect it. That’s also the amazing power of traditions. They provide children with a sense of unity.
They give children something to look forward to and to count on. When families create holiday traditions, they’re creating something unique to that family. It’s a powerful bond. As your children grow up, they may hold onto their family traditions and share them with their own children. Even if they don’t hold onto the tradition, you can rest assured they’ll remember them fondly.
Let me share with you a family tradition that my mother started and I now carry on in my family – putting a new holiday ornament on the tree each year. My family used to wake up and be the first to find the new ornament. We would scour the tree and then begin to shout out what we believed was the new ornament. We did that every year, even when we were older. Now my husband and I purchase a new ornament from any “new” place we have been that year, vacations, plays etc.
Creating Holiday Traditions – The First Step
The first step to creating holiday traditions is to look at activities or events your family has enjoyed in the past. For example, perhaps you went to see the Nutcracker as a family last year, which we actually just saw this past weekend. That could become a holiday tradition. Maybe your family enjoys baking cookies, decorating your tree or caroling with the local church. Take a look at the opportunities you’ve already taken advantage of. Is there a potential family tradition there?
Next, take a look at activities your family might enjoy together. Traditions don’t have to be elaborate; they can be quite simple. For example, you might read The Night Before Christmas together on Christmas Eve.
Once you’ve pinpointed a tradition or two to adopt this year, relax. Don’t go overboard with too many traditions. You can wind up exhausted from trying to meet everyone’s expectations. Additionally, make sure to get your family on board with the traditions. Make them responsible for some aspect of the tradition so everyone is involved.
For example, if your family tradition is to decorate the tree to holiday music, assign one child to choose the music, one child to retrieve the ornaments and the adults can put up the tree. When everyone has a role to play, it brings the entire family together.
Family traditions are a fun way to remember the holidays. Traditions that you establish from year to year will stick with your children long into adulthood. They’ll become part of the story of their life.