Tra•di•tion (noun) Webster’s Dictionary describes tradition as (a) an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior. (b) The handing down of information, beliefs and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.
Think of a tradition you had in your family growing up as a child. What were some of those traditions? Some may remember subtle traditions such as: a father’s kiss on the head before leaving home for school each day or a mother’s prayer before bed or making deserts for the holidays.
Others may remember trips to grandmas in the summer or family dinner on Sunday or a special call that you receive on their birthday each year. As a child, I remember how nice it was to anticipate family gatherings, annual road trips, and helping my mom in the kitchen on Saturday evening to prepare dinner for Sunday afternoon. These memories still make me smile.
All of these are traditions and what brings about unity within a family. Traditions are a reminder that we have so much life to live and so much to be grateful for. When pressed with the obligations of our lives, it’s easy to let traditions slip away or to not slow down enough to create lasting memories. Families are so busy with work, school and activities that it may be difficult to even think of starting a tradition. With the holidays approaching this would be a great opportunity to begin a new tradition in your family. Here are some ideas to help get you started.
1. Volunteer as a family.
2. Serve food to the less fortunate.
3. Pick a day of the week to call a distant friend or family member.
4. If you don’t usually host dinners, invite friends and family over for games and dessert.
5. Give a gag gift and pass it on to another family member the next year.
6. Set aside a night to watch a holiday movie with family.
7. Have children make an ornament and send to family (be sure to include their name and year).
8. Tree of Thanksgiving: Have family write a note of what they’re thankful for and add it to the tree. Share tree (and notes) with family on Thanksgiving Day.
9. Video of Thanksgiving: Have someone take small private video clips of family members saying what they’re thankful for and share the video with family as a group on Thanksgiving Day.
10. Present a baked good or gift to a neighbor, friend or family member.
I would love to hear about your family traditions and/or ideas to help others start traditions within their family. Feel free to share.