I love hearing about strong family traditions. Those little rituals that get passed down from generation to generation really serve to shape the individuals involved. When my kids were little, our traditions were minimal and mainly connected to the rituals of my husband’s family. Of course that is okay, and part of what family tradition is all about, but when it occurred to me that family traditions had to start somewhere, with someone’s great idea, it was as if a door opened.
Creating family traditions: 2 guidelines
If your family does not have a lot of traditions make some up as you go along!
- First of all it is important to note that there are no rules when it comes to setting family traditions. Feel free to use your creativity, discover what your family loves, and take the initiative to make it happen.
- Also, as often as possible, the rituals you decide on should be inexpensive and fairly easy to implement. Elaborate traditions can become a burden that evokes guilt if they cannot be maintained.
Monthly traditions can be the bond that helps to maintain a solid sense of family connectedness. Mark the passage of time by celebrating the first day of each month, or set aside the third Sunday, or whatever works for your particular family.
Make it happen
Taking a cue from New Year’s Day, we like to take the first day of each month to plan one family outing for the month. Sitting down and taking a look at the calendar together at the start of the month is the first part of the tradition, the second part is the activity we choose to celebrate the month.
Simple is best
Family traditions can be very simple; baking cookies and sharing with neighbors, taking a hike, or visiting the lake. Those are just as special as the yearly camping trip in February, (we rent a cabin), and attending the Air Show together in September.
Some months are already chock full of commitments; birthdays, holidays, busy time at work. That fact becomes more and more real as my kids grow up. Keeping to the monthly first of the month planning session allows us to carve out time for just us. Maybe we go out for breakfast, or plan to watch a movie together, whatever it is, and that time is now sacred family time. It is sustainable because it is flexible.
Whatever method you use for keeping your family connected, whether it is a set tradition or more fluid like ours, doing something is better than nothing. Traditions are the glue that holds a family together.
More by Sylvie Branch:
Tiny Terrariums: Build a Mini-Garden on Your Kitchen Table
Keeping Track of the Family: What System Works for You?
Parenting 101: Hit Refresh, Try Again