Traditions add spirit and texture to our everyday lives

Traditions can have lots of benefits to families: they strengthen the family bond, offer comfort and
security, teach values and connect generations – just to name a few.
Traditions can be big or small, but what makes them unique is that they are done with a specific purpose
in mind and require thought and intentionality. Traditions add a certain spirit and texture to our
everyday lives.
I recall a few traditions that stick out from my childhood. We would always spend Christmas Eve with my
maternal grandparents, where we’d go to late church and open gifts. Over the past few years, Christmas
Day has evolved into a seafood buffet with crab and oyster stuffing taking over the traditional Christmas
ham and scalloped potatoes. Every year as a kid we spent the 4 th of July at our family lake cabin. We
would spend the days swimming and collecting seashells to glue to picture frames. Nights were spent
having s’mores by the bonfire. 4 th of July at our cabin is one of my favorite childhood memories.
Now that I have my own family, I’ve been putting more thought into establishing positive family
traditions that my children will look forward to as they grow up. Some of the more common holiday
traditions that I’ve started and hope to continue with my own children are Easter baskets and dying
eggs, an egg hunt in the yard, new pajamas on Christmas Eve and pumpkin carving in October.
Some newer ideas I have incorporated include marking the kids’ height on a big oversized ruler on each
birthday to track their growth over the years. With my oldest recently starting preschool, I purchased a
“first day of” chalkboard for first day school photos to remember his favorite color, teacher’s name and
what he wants to be when he grows up.
Traditions can be daily, weekly, yearly or holiday oriented, even something as simple as trying to eat
dinner together every day, around the same table, at the same time. That is a daily tradition that I value
and am trying to instill with my two kids (both under 4), which is proving to be very difficult. We did this
when I was a kid and I still remember sitting at the counter together eating dinner. We also make a point
to read 3 books to each of our kids, every single night. No more and no less than 3. It’s something that is
engrained into our bedtime routine and it’s important to us as parents to have one-on- one time with
our kids.
One thing my mom did that I’ve continued to do is get the kids a new Christmas ornament each year,
either with the year on it or written on the bottom. When they get older, I’ll store them in their own
containers so when they move out, they have their childhood ornaments to cherish. I love having my
favorites as a kid on my tree, some of my favorite ornaments are still ones I got as a child and I love
pulling them out each year.
Family traditions feel like something special, something engrained in your personality and a part of your
family values. I challenge you to find a few small or big ones to start implementing in your family.
Creating traditions today can have lifelong benefits to your family.