Family Traditions

christmas ornament family tradition

Family traditions are the rituals, practices and beliefs of a family that are handed down from one generation to the next. They can

enrich families

promote a feeling of closeness


strengthen family bonds.

They create emotional safety, security and fond memories.

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
- Susan Lieberman

Create traditions on purpose.

We live in a busy, go-go-go information age. All the conveniences and distractions of modern living result in very hectic lifestyles. We don’t have time for relationships. Family bonds are weakening. Extended families are often separated by great distances. Communication is difficult, at best.

Maintaining and creating meaningful family traditions counter-acts this current trend. Traditions allow families to spend time together having fun, promote a feeling of closeness, and strengthen the family unit.

Ironically enough, family traditions are founded regardless of whether or not you try.

If a family does not purposely establish a family culture full of positive and meaningful rituals and routines, the plain lack thereof becomes that family’s tradition.

Happy families stay together by intentionally spending meaningful time together.

Grandma presents a special cake to a special Birthday Princess

birthday fun

Practical Ideas offers these practical ideas for creating meaningful family traditions:

  1. Aim for a moderate number of traditions
  2. Establish new traditions
  3. Make sure you have spiritual traditions
  4. From time to time, evaluate your traditions

Fun family rituals can happen daily, weekly or monthly. They can be centered around seasons or holidays. Any time period or event that occurs on a regular basis can be the catalyst for a noteworthy family ritual.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!

But don’t get overwhelmed.

Establishing new traditions takes time so think things through before you begin. Before creating a new (and potentially complicated) tradition, analyze the traditions and family events that you already enjoy. Are all family members involved? Does the tradition fulfill a greater purpose - such as teaching a family value? Develop and enhance your existing favorites first.

Halloween offers wonderful opportunities for creating family fun.

giant halloween pumpkins

Then find the blank spots and fill in holes. Start new traditions that help accomplish a pre-identified goal. Does your family need an activity that will bring everyone together on a daily basis? Is there an upcoming holiday the kids would enjoy emphasizing? There are tons of amazing and fun-sounding ideas but resist the temptation to do them all. Pick one or two, make them meaningful and go from there.

Sometimes the best family traditions are the simplest ones. For example, I treasure the pictures taken of the kids and me each Mother’s Day. You could do something as simple as this, and put the pictures onto photo mugs.

The following list of ideas is just that – ideas. While our family has enjoyed many of them, the same family traditions may or may not be right for your family.

new family traditions on pintrest

New Family Traditions

Daily Traditions

  • Eat dinner together
  • Read books together before bed
  • Pray together each morning
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Say “I love you”

Weekly Traditions

  • Take a Sunday afternoon walk
  • Attend worship services together
  • Watch a movie and eat pizza every Friday night
  • Cook Saturday breakfast in your pajamas as a family
  • Eat popcorn at Grandma & Grandpa’s house every Sunday evening
  • Have a family game night
  • Call home

Monthly Traditions

  • Have a regular daddy-daughter date
  • Eat dinner with your grandparents
  • Hold regular family councils or meetings

Seasonal Traditions

  • Pick apples and press your own cider each fall
  • Interview the kids on video before the first day of school each year
  • Swim at your favorite lake each summer
  • Make and send birthday cards to your cousins
  • Vacation together
  • Plant flowers each spring
  • Sleep on the trampoline under the stars in the summer
  • Celebrate the first snow fall with hot chocolate

Holiday Traditions

  • Eat a favorite meal on your birthday
  • Dress up in costumes each Halloween
  • Take pictures with mom & the kids every mother’s day
  • Make dad a t-shirt for father’s day
  • Drink green milk on St. Patty’s Day
  • Celebrate your wedding anniversary
  • Celebrate the Chinese new year
  • Have a “Kid’s Day”
  • Decorate birthday cakes
  • Take flowers to an ancestor’s grave on Memorial Day

Family Christmas Traditions

  • Search out and cut down your own Christmas tree
  • Put a new ornament on the tree each year
  • Go caroling
  • Play secret Santa
  • Exchange white elephant gifts
  • Act out the nativity on Christmas Eve
  • Eat orange rolls for breakfast
  • Host a neighborhood party
  • Give everyone new pajamas

large family dressed in Christmas nativity costumes
A special nativity Christmas tradition.

Family Reunion Traditions

  • Create (or add to) a time capsule
  • Exchange gifts with your cousins
  • Participate in the talent show
  • Have an adult-only game night
  • Report on significant family news
  • Share family stories

These and other family traditions will promote a sense of identity and feeling of belonging. They will enrich your family life and create love and harmony in the home.

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