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In my last post I shared about how important family traditions are to building a strong family. Now I want to share with you lots of practical ideas for ways you can begin implementing traditions into your family or add some new traditions to celebrate together. Remember no two families look the same, so pick and choose traditions that work with your family dynamic.
Seasonal Traditions (Holidays & Events)
New Year’s Eve/Day –
- Share your goals for the new year with one another.
- Video everyone sharing their goals then watch it next New Year’s.
- Make a slideshow video of pictures from last year and watch it as a family. Reminiscing over the past year together.
- Similar to the video, you could make a family yearbook of pictures to look through together. Online photo printing services usually have great sales during December.
- New Year’s Eve is a great time for board games or a family movie marathon.
- See who can stay up the latest. (For many years now our older kids try to pull an all-nighter. They have come close, but so far haven’t made it. Nevertheless, it is something they look forward to every year.)
Super Bowl –
- Make a tradition of watching the Super Bowl together. You can invite friends and extended family or just enjoy it with your little family. Great food, football, and funny commercials is something we look forward to every year. Not a fan of football? You could do the same thing watching another sport’s big game, watching the Academy Awards, or a much anticipated movie or TV show.
Winter & Summer Olympics –
- Watch the Opening Ceremony together while enjoying a traditional dinner of the host country.
- If you enjoy trying new foods make a traditional dish representing a different competing country every night of the Olympics for dinner.
- Watch some of the events together and cheer on your favorite athletes.
- If you homeschool, the Olympics are a great time to focus on geography and make fabulous memories in the process. 😉
Valentine’s Day –
- When I was a kid my dad would buy his daughters something and my mom would buy a gift for her son. It always made me feel special.
- Have cinnamon rolls shaped like hearts for breakfast.
- Enjoy a memorable Valentine’s dinner as a family.
- Cut up hearts and have each family member write something they love about one another. You can posts the hearts on bedroom doors for the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day or you can give them to one another sometime that day.
- Give someone a “heart attack.” Choose an extended family or friend, write things you like about them, special memories, or inside jokes on paper hearts then tape them to their front door or car windows. You could even put them in a large envelope and mail a “heart attack” to someone.
Father/Daughter Dance –
- For a few years now my husband has taken our daughters to a Father/Daughter Dance. It is usually held in February. They all dress up and enjoy an evening with other dads and daughters. A nice dinner is served and then they dance the night away. This tradition is one of our daughters’ favorites. It’s a very meaningful night to them and their dad.
Mother/Son Date –
- While the other half of the family is enjoying the father/daughter dance, my sons and I enjoy a special date as well. It always involves their favorite food and an activity of some sort.
St. Patrick’s Day –
- Make Irish food for dinner.
- Read Amon’s Adventure every evening leading up to Easter.
- Enjoy a Resurrection Bag Scavenger Hunt.
- Go through the Stations of the Cross together.
- Go to a Sunrise Service.
- Have an Easter Sunrise Breakfast.
- Enjoy a special Easter lunch.
Test Day –
- If your children take standardized test every year, make it a little easier by preparing them a special breakfast on test day.
May 4th –
- Watch a Star Wars movie as a family or if it lands on a weekend have a Star Wars marathon.
Enjoy the Outdoors together –
- Go on evening or morning walks as much as time allows.
- At least once a summer go camping together, even if it’s just in your backyard. 😉
- Go on hikes together.
- If you live near the coast, have an annual beach day or go for walks on the beach.
4th of July –
- Have a family water fight.
- Enjoy a family cookout with recipes you only have on the 4th of July.
- Go on a fall drive or hike to look at changing leaves.
- Go to a farm to buy produce.
- Get a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch.
- Take a hayride.
- Pick apples at an orchard.
- Put together a Thankful Tree during the month of November.
- Create recipes that are meaningful and special to your family for Thanksgiving.
- Make a Thankful Box to share after you eat the big meal.
- Go Black Friday shopping together. (I personally am more of an online shopper, but my kids love getting out in the chaos. So I go and enjoy the time with them anyway.)
- If your family is large enough or you get together with extended family have an annual flag football game.
- Jesse Tree – Counting down to Christmas with the Jesse Tree is a highlight every year for me. I especially love the daily reading from Ann Voskamp’s book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.
- Read Jotham’s Journey together.
- Elf on the Shelf – Our children actually know it’s mom behind the elf’s shenanigans, but that doesn’t stop them from looking forward to it everyday.
- Go to the Zoo Lights – If you live near a zoo, chances are they will have an amazing light display to go through. Many zoos may call it Electricritters.
- Look at lights – Fill up some travel mugs with your favorite warm drinks. Load up in the vehicle and enjoy a nice evening looking at lights together. I know a family that would give their top 3 favorite displays a gift card as a thank you. I’ve always thought that was a nice idea and hope our family will try it one day.
- Make Christmas cookies.
- Host a cookie competition/cookie exchange.
- Visit a Live Nativity.
- Make your own egg nog.
- Go to a Christmas Eve service. Our church offers a Christmas Eve service by candlelight. It is one of my favorite services all year.
- Watch Christmas movies together.
- Make Wassail.
- Use special Christmas dishes all month long.
- Put together Shoe Boxes to give to children. (The shoe boxes are due the middle of November, but are still technically a Christmas tradition, since they are Christmas gifts for children in need.)
- Make Memory Ornaments.
- 3 Wise Men – Hide 3 Wise Men figurines each day. The person that finds them is responsible for hiding them the next day. This is a great opportunity to talk about how the Wise Men traveled as they sought to find the Savior.
- Choose the menu – Let the birthday child choose what they want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our kids love this tradition and seriously think about their choices all year. Every time I make something that is a favorite, we’ll hear “I want this on my birthday.”
- Rose Tradition – Give your daughter a rose for every year that she is old. My husband started this on our daughter’s very first birthday. It has become a tradition that is close to all of their hearts.
- Theme Parties – Don’t have to be expensive and are a great way to celebrate together. Our children talk a lot about their favorite parties through the years, which makes it worth all the effort to me. 😉
- Try to eat together as much as possible.
- Go around the table sharing your highs and lows for the day.
- Have a jar full of questions and draw one to discuss over dinner.
- Spend time together praying.
- Read books. Even as your children get older, if they’ll let you. Pick a great book and read a little from it together before bed.
Family Nights –
- Game Night – There are so many great games to play as a family. Cooperative games are a wonderful tool to build family relationships because you work together to reach a common goal. Check out this list of some of our personal favorites.
- Movie Night – Watching movies is a great way to slow down and spend some time together.
- Devotion Night – If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your family these family nights are a fantastic way to do so.
Special Meals –
- Saturday Morning Breakfast – Enjoy a bigger breakfast together.
- Theme night – Taco Tuesdays, Pizza Fridays, etc.
Life Event Traditions
- School Pictures – First and last day of school pictures each year.
- Accomplishments – There are so many reasons to celebrate each other throughout the year. Slow down and recognize accomplishments with a favorite meal or dessert, going out for ice cream or other small treat.
- Moving to a New Home – Moving can be stressful and exhausting on everyone. Lighten the mood by camping out together somewhere in the house your first night.
What are some of your favorite family traditions?
I would love to hear them and possibly add some new ones for our family to enjoy together. 🙂