As my daughter was filling out college applications one of the questions she was asked was “ what is your favorite family tradition?” This got me thinking about the upcoming holiday season and the traditions, in general, we create amongst our families and friends.
Traditions are important because they strengthen a unique bond and create lasting memories. In my family, we have many traditions; including celebrating Christmas Eve with a nice dinner, eating cake for breakfast on your birthday, and the annual “painting exchange.” My brother and I share a sentimental painting that we “gift’ to each other every Christmas. Many traditions are done all year long and have nothing to do with the holidays. It is even nicer when the traditions are handed down from generation to generation.
In order for traditions to be successful, they have to have meaning to you and they need to be regular. If they don’t occur with some regularity, they will not be effective. Also, you should not go overboard with traditions either. If you have too many, the effect is diluted. If you are looking to start a new tradition this year here are some examples that are fun:
• Cake on your birthday for breakfast (we do chocolate cake)
• Egg Wars on Easter-Each person picks a hardboiled egg and holds it with an end up. Designate a person to start and they go to the right (or left) and tap their egg with the person besides them. Whoever’s egg cracks is out. Continue around the table trying to crack each egg. You can even keep it going and do the other end of your egg too. You can give a prize to the winner if you like.
• Purchase a Christmas ornament every year for your children so they can take them when they move out and start their own tree.
• Family prayer
• Morning breakfast such as Saturday waffles or Sunday pancakes.
• Full moon walk-about every 29 days there is a full moon. Head outside and take a look with your family.
• Watching a favorite movie such as It’s a Wonderful Life or Princess Bride.
• A family member gets to be “Santa” and hands out the gifts to each person that are under the tree. (Official Santa hat is mandatory.)
• First day of school pictures
• Special dishes or sides
If you already have some traditions, you may want to reevaluate them every so often and see if they still have meaning for your family or friends. (I’m thinking that the Elf on the Shelf does not last forever.) People change and grow and so must your traditions.
So as we move forward closer to 2016, think about the traditions you do have and see if you want to phase out any of them in favor of some new ones. If you have some cool ones to share, that would be awesome too.