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The Importance of Family Traditions

It is that time of year again! The time of year when you see families sending out holiday cards, cookies being made, Christmas trees getting tagged and decorated, houses lit up with lights, movies by a fire, and the list goes on. 

When you think of the holidays, you often think of family and the traditions you celebrate around this time of year. 

Yes, we all love a tradition; but, have you ever thought about the significance of these family traditions? There is so much more significance than what meets the eye. Today, we will be talking about what a tradition is, the importance of family traditions, and some ideas on some traditions you can start with your family this holiday season! Stay tuned for a resource you can use as well. 

What is a tradition?

A tradition is an experience or activity that is passed down through generations. These traditions can be formal or informal. 

Is it important to note that a tradition is different than a routine. A routine is something you do day-to-day, for example, brushing your teeth every morning when you wake up. A tradition on the other hand is an activity or event that is unique and does not take place on a daily basis. 

Here is an example: 

Routine- Every Saturday night you and your family watch a movie and have popcorn. 

Tradition- On Christmas eve, your family watches Elf and has Christmas cookies. 

Although both are important, watching Elf only takes place one time a year while watching a movie every Saturday night is a usual occurrence. That is what makes traditions so special– they are symbolic for the family who practices them. 

The Importance of Tradition 

Often people look at family traditions and think, “Yeah they are cool and my children love them”  but they never consider the implications these traditions could have on their children and families. 

Think about the holidays and what you typically do during these times. What comes to your mind? Now think about how you feel during this time. 

Did you think about a tradition your family had? Most likely! How about how you felt- did it make you happy? 

People love the holiday season for a reason! A lot of the joy that comes with the holidays is due to family traditions. 

Traditions are so important to a family unit. Traditions help form children’s memories. These traditions are almost always positive and help strengthen the family bond. These memories can last a lifetime and leave such an impact that the tradition is passed down to another generation. With this passing down of traditions, comes the passing down of culture that helps form your child’s identity. 

Some Ideas! 

Are you sitting there trying to start a family tradition but not sure what to do? Here are a couple of ideas you can do starting this holiday season! 

  1. 25 Days Until Christmas Book Countdown- I love this one! Buy a book for each night of December from December 1st to December 25th. Wrap those books and put them under the tree. Each night before bed, have your children pick a book, unwrap it, and then read it together!

  1. Baking Holiday Cookies- Get your favorite cookie recipes out and make some cookies! Find cookie cutters that represent the holidays! After, you can decorate and enjoy them together. 

  1. Holiday movie night- There are so many great holiday movies out there! Each year you can have a movie night with the family here you watch one of these together. My personal favorites are Elf, Home Alone, Christmas With the Kranks, The Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman. 

  1. Picking ornaments each year and decorating the tree- This is another personal favorite. Each year, all members of your family pick an ornament that represents them that year! Then, decorate your tree! Watch the ornaments collected over the years and each year when you take them out, you have a little trip down memory lane. 

  1. Family game night- Each year, pick a game and sit down with the family and play! You could even make it a holiday game. Want to add a little more to it? Enjoy those Christmas cookies you just made! 

Need some help explaining to children what a family tradition is? Check out this RESOURCE! Here you will find a flip book that children will love that will explain what a tradition is and even have a little activity at the end!

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