Do You Have Family Traditions?

family planting flowersEarlier this fall my sisters and I attended an all-school reunion for our elementary school in our home town. At one point we were interviewed by some high school students who were studying local history. (Ha! Does that tell you how old I am??) At any rate, one of the questions we were asked was if we had any family traditions growing up.

Of course we did and we had a nice time reminiscing about those traditions.  After the interview I started thinking about today’s young families and how they manage to build traditions into their family life.

A recurring theme you will find in my blog posts is my empathy for and recognition of how busy life is for families today. Of course, that’s not to say that being busy is bad. But it does become more difficult to lead a balanced life and do things like build family traditions.

First, why are family traditions important? According to many experts, family traditions give comfort and a sense of bonding to children and adults alike. In other words, they draw your family closer together.

But back to the issue of time. With families being drawn in multiple directions every day who has time to start an elaborate new family tradition? Well, not to worry! Family traditions don’t have to be elaborate or time consuming.

Did you know that every Saturday morning when you sit down to a plate of pancakes with your family you’re taking part in a tradition? Or how about helping the kids brush their teeth and then reading out loud together before bedtime? Yep, you are involved in building a family tradition.

Building a tradition simply requires revisiting the activity together on a regular basis. So if your family always has hot chocolate after bringing home the yearly Christmas tree, you are building that action into a family tradition. Or if your family saves spare change to give to charity on a monthly basis, you’ve created another tradition.

Now here’s another thing about family traditions. It’s probably a good idea to change it up a bit as your children grow.  When it’s no longer appropriate to help your kids brush teeth and read out loud at bedtime because they’ve outgrown that, it’s time to come up with another bedtime routine or ritual that is more age appropriate.  Maybe you’ll want to spend the last 15 minutes before bedtime connecting with them- find out what’s going on at school or anything else they might want to discuss. Having some special one-on-one time is an awesome tradition to instill in your family.

In time you’ll see that it’s not really difficult to tie your family together with the strands of family traditions. And if you start thinking about it you’ll notice that some of these traditions center around daily routines and some center around holidays.

With that in mind and with Thanksgiving just around the corner I’d like to tell you a Thanksgiving  tradition in our family. Ever since my husband and I were married we’ve traveled about an hour and a half each Thanksgiving to be with family. This tradition continued as we had children.

And then one year the roads were impassible and we were stuck at home. Without a turkey. Without mashed potatoes and gravy. Without pumpkin pie. We did have the salad that I was bringing to the family dinner, but that was poor consolation. So right then and there a new tradition was born in our little family.

I always buy a turkey and have it thawed and waiting in the fridge, along with all the fixings. Come Thanksgiving Day, if the roads are impassible, we are never caught without a proper Thanksgiving dinner again. If we are lucky enough to have good roads and spend the day with family, I simply cook our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. It works out well, we have plenty of leftovers for the weekend and we are never caught short wishing for a hot turkey dinner.

In closing, I’d like leave you with a link to some great ideas for Thanksgiving family traditions from SheKnows.  I hope you find one or more ideas that are a great fit for your family!


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