Discussing the idea of creating traditions and sharing some of mine with you to give you some ideas for your family.
Creating traditions is a unique bonding opportunity that really is just a commitment kept. A series of small things we do on repeat that create warm feelings of moments with the ones we love. Many of us, like myself, have had to create our own new traditions throughout the years. Something that might seem more difficult than is. As a child I don’t have many great traditions to look back on. The ones that I do. I treasure. They were small seemingly insignificant.
My father, if he were here might be shocked to know that those cold nights packing into our old car to look at Christmas lights have stayed with me. They are moments I smile back on and remember vividly. He did not realize that this tiny thing probably done out of boredom or something cheap to do with the family, would be a part of his legacy. We had an old Bronco that could barely fit us. We would grab blankets and the smallest of us would pile in the way back for a better view. I can still remember wiping the fog from our breath off the windows. Peering out at the lights while dad drove patiently down each street.
I realize these small gestures are what stays in our hearts. As I drive the neighborhoods for my daughter, there is never a time when I don’t smile at my dad. Looking back and recalling him doing just the same for me.
Creating traditions is never about cost or elaborate scenarios of creating a white Christmas. Where one hauls the entire family to the woods each year. Although, that’s not a bad one to have. But it is also homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. It’s baking your child’s favorite kind of birthday cake for them. Something I very much enjoy doing for mine. Or making a new Christmas ornament for the tree each year.
Traditions have no special time of year to be enjoyed however, many of us have placed special importance around the Christmas holiday. For good reason, as most of us would agree that it is in fact the most magical time of year. Baking days, special treats, ornaments, favorite holiday movies. There is time off from school allowing all of these things to be more accessible.
Here are some of my favorite Christmas traditions that we have:
- Driving to see Christmas lights (of course this made the list!)
- Baking homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast
- Making homemade ornaments from cranberries, popcorn and dried oranges
- Decorating the tree together
- Baking treats for gifts
- Watching our favorite Christmas movies in our pjs
I am sure there is more, but these are some of my favorites.
As I mentioned, I do things like baking my daughter’s birthday cake. A somewhat new tradition I have adopted in the last 6 years that you can be sure I will keep forever. Before it was hit or miss whether I would let her pick the cake at the store or not. Since doing this small gesture, there is a level of excitement around the cake. Something that used to be just an extra thing to grab before the party or order while grocery shopping. Yet now baking it for me feels nostalgic and special. She is likely to linger around the kitchen in anticipation. Watching in the doorway as I frost it. Something that always puts a smile on my face.
Some Ideas for Year-Round Traditions
- Participating in Advent during the Christmas season
- Cutting your own Christmas tree
- Going to the movies on Christmas day
- Make a gingerbread house (either store-bought or homemade. Here is a great tutorial and recipe for a homemade gingerbread house)
- Having Chinese food on Christmas eve (they are always open and bonus no cooking)
- Buy matching or funny PJs each year for Christmas morning
- Visit the snow
- Make natural homemade and traditional Christmas decor like stringing popcorn, and cranberries or drying orange slices to make garlands and ornaments.
New Years Eve:
- Making appetizers, dressing up and playing board games or watching an old classic movie (another one of our traditions)
- Apple cider toast and watching the countdown
- Making mocktails and doing a taco bar or nacho bar
- Sharing your news years resolutions and goals for the new year around the dinner table
- Having pizza nights on Fridays (homemade or store-bought)
- Collecting a rock, sea shell, or souvenir to save from road trips, vacations etc.
- Doing a campout in the backyard in the summer
- Having an end of the school year party
- Revive the old Sunday family dinner tradition
Tips for Creating Traditions
- Start small
- Avoid anything over the top
- Make sure that you also enjoy doing them, not just your kids
- Ensure they are easy to repeat
- Keep them simple
- Try to have ones during other seasons, not just during the Christmas season
- Talk about them prior to doing them, to create anticipation and excitement each year
No matter what you choose to do to create meaningful traditions, make sure that it is something that you can repeat. Otherwise, it will be more of a hassle than an enjoyable experience. Which is the opposite of what we are going for when creating traditions. Remember they don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, only memorable.
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