My family played football on Thanksgiving in the street after our Thanksgiving feast, my brother always put a rock in one of the Easter eggs for the Easter egg hunt, and my sister always sends a picture of herself in a happy holidays shirt for EVERY holiday. No matter how big or how small, all families have traditions. “Traditions are stories, beliefs, rituals and customs that are passed from one generation to the next.” Family traditions, turns out, are important for families. Research shows that having family traditions creates connection between family members. Traditions usually have special meanings to a family, so they create feelings of warmth and closeness within the family. Traditions also help to bring an identity and sense of belonging to the family. They create a feeling of safety and security by providing a familiar experience within the family and give family members something to look forward to.
When thinking about family traditions, keep some things in mind. Aim for a moderate number of traditions, having too few makes the traditions undefined, but having too many traditions makes them feel less special. Be sure to include all family members in the planning and carrying out of traditions. As children grow older, continue to include them, and possibly change their responsibilities in certain traditions in order to keep them engaged and invested in what goes on. Sometimes traditions change, and that’s okay. Life happens, which can cause things to change. If the family seems to be underwhelmed by the current traditions, have a conversation. Is it time to move on to something different or modify the current tradition? Will someone else pick up the tradition if other family members want to pass it on?
As we enter into holiday season, think about the traditions you have and the ones you had growing up. Do you continue to have the same traditions? Did having traditions strengthen your family relationships? Take this time to involve all family members in your traditions, and maybe make some memories creating new ones.