What were your favorite family traditions as a child? When starting your family you get to add or modify traditions or create new ones!
In her book, “Ask the Children“, Ellen Galinsky, describes a survey in which she asked children what they would remember most about their childhood. Most of the kids responded by talking about simple, everyday traditions like family dinners, holiday get-togethers, and bedtime stories.
In our family we let the person celebrating their birthday choose the dinner meal. My parents did this when I was a child and we have continued this tradition. Our family has also created new traditions. For bedtime, we get one-on-one time by alternating nights with our son and daughter. We read, talk, and snuggle. My favorite time!
Traditions offer numerous benefits to our families. Traditions, and the stories they tell about one’s family, play an important role in shaping a child’s personal identity.
Researchers have consistently found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families that haven’t established rituals together.
Many family traditions have been passed down through multiple generations. Continuing them in your own family is a great way to teach your children about your family’s cultural and religious history, thus adding to their personal identity.
Researchers have found that family traditions and rituals can provide comfort and security to children.
Traditions when done right, lend a certain magic, spirit, and texture to our everyday lives. (Source: artofmaniless.com)
Here are “12 Days of Traditions” with different ideas for cultivating traditions in your family:
Create a special birthday tradition in your family. Here are 8 ideas to get you started.
What birthday traditions do you celebrate?
HAVE THE SAME MEAL ONE TIME EVERY WEEK
Friday night pizza, Saturday morning pancakes, Taco Tuesdays!
Do you have a family tradition that includes a special meal?
GAME / MOVIE NIGHT
Take turns letting a different family member choose the movie or game each week. This simple tradition reinforces the belief that every member of the family is important.
What are your favorite games or movies?
“Reading to young children stimulates their development and gives them a head start when they reach school, according to researchers who have reviewed studies on the effects of reading. Apart from helping their reading, sharing a bedtime story with a child promotes their motor skills, through learning to turn the pages, and their memory. It also improves their emotional and social development.” (Source: The Guardian)
What are your favorite bedtime stories?
NEW PRIVILEGE/NEW RESPONSIBILITY CARDS
“Amidst all the fun and hoopla, remind your kid that with age comes greater power and with greater power comes greater responsibility. In addition to birthday presents, present your child with two envelopes. One envelope is labeled, ‘New Privilege’; the other, ‘New Responsibility.’ Provide an age appropriate privilege and responsibility each year.” (Source: The Art of Manliness)
What type of responsibilities do you want to teach your kids?
FIRST SNOW/FIRST DAY OF WINTER
Start a tradition when it first snows or on the first day of winter (December 21st). Warm up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and little marshmallows. Watch the movie “Polar Express”. Build a snowman.
Do you have a first snow or winter tradition?
FAMILY TIME CAPSULE
Each family member contributes a few of their favorite things, notes, and present-day period items to a waterproof box that is opened 10+ years later. Including voice recordings and/or video is recommended. (If you move before the ten years is up and you buried it in your yard, make sure to take it with you!)
What ideas do you have for a family time capsule?
“Secret handshakes have been used by groups for millennia to distinguish members and non-members.
Make one up for your own family.
It can be elaborate and complex or simple but meaningful. An example of the latter comes from a family profiled in The Book of New Family Traditions.
This family had the tradition of squeezing each others’ hands three times to signal the three words ‘I love you.’ On the day the daughter got married, the father squeezed her hand three times as he walked her down the aisle. ‘Only she knew that this was happening, a tiny personal ritual lodged invisibly within one of the grandest and most public, and she says it was one of the most moving moments of her life.” (Source: The Art of Manliness)
WINTER BUCKET LIST
Write up a fun bucket list that your family plans to do and involve the kids. Get them excited to make some goals and achieve them! Here are some ideas to get you started–> Winter Bucket List!
What is on your winter bucket list?
PIONEER NIGHT (monthly)
Turn off everything and eat, play games, and read only by candlelight. This also forces you to put away the phone, electronics, and TV!
Could you do a pioneer night?
Early in the morning or after dinner, family walks open the door for conversation, gentle exercise, and a routine opportunity to experience Mother Nature. We have a Golden Retriever that inspires us to take daily walks. We also love exploring new terrain as we did on this walk on Lake Michigan last year!
Do you enjoy family walks together?
NEW YEAR’S EVE
20 New Year’s traditions to start in your family! Our family loves the “Minute to Win It” games. We do a count down to New Year’s by having a bag with a surprise activity for every hour to midnight.
What New Year’s Eve traditions do you have in your family?
Hope you found inspiration for cultivating family traditions into your home. Would love to know what family traditions you have in your family!