Traditions are a big deal to me. I think they are to most people. When a couple gets married, it can be a lot of fun (with a few headaches, perhaps) to take bits of traditions from both sides, add some new stuff, and establish a new set of traditions. This is even more important as kids enter the scene.
Why are they important? It’s like building a family culture in your home. It gives you and your kids that sense of security, belonging, and fun! The easy, inexpensive traditions that everyone enjoys are the ones that leave a lasting positive impression. For me, that makes them worthy of a little thought and planning.
Holiday traditions are very important. But regular day traditions are important too. Things you do every day, on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, or just things that become major memory-makers for your family! We have two small children, so we’re enjoying this time of defining our own traditions.
Here are some that come to mind, whether you’re a no-kid or a with-kid family:
- Cooking together
- Visiting grandparents
- Neighborhood summer potluck
- Church community activities
- Talking about your day over dinner
- Having people over for dinner
- Reading before bed
- Movie/Game night
- Doing a puzzle together
- Making gifts for people (done right, even a guy might enjoy this)
- Date night
- Beach trips
- Eating out once a week
- Building something (fort inside, treehouse, leggos, etc)
- Going for walks
- Volunteering together
- My new favorite: going to Powells, reading for an hour, and talking about what you read afterward. That one hasen’t “taken” as a tradition for our family… yet. 😉
OK, so all my ideas were pretty standard. What are your ideas? What non-holiday traditions do you have or would you like to have in your family? I would really love to hear them! Because I firmly believe in stealing ideas.
In the Meyer home, singing is a tradition. We sing constantly, and it has become a big part of our transitions from one activity to the next. Right now we’re trying to make a tradition of singing worship songs together regularly as a family. That’s proven difficult, but hopefully by time the kids are old enough to remember, it will be normal for our family instead of all awkward and intermittent.
Camping is also an important tradition we want to carry forward from both our childhoods. At least a couple of times a year. It’s a thrifty vacation and an awesome memory maker for the kids. Hiking, fishing, boating, stories (not scary, thanks) around the bonfire, roasting horrible-for-you food over the fire, deer sightings, snuggling in the sleeping bags, coffee and hot chocolate in the morning. Then… battling bugs, tripping over all creation to pee in the middle of the night, weird camp neighbors that creep you out, scraped knees and elbows, mosquito bites. It’s all good.
(As a long side note, my parents took Jaron camping for three days recently. We’d never been away from him that long! We couldn’t help but fret over whether he’d get scared or miss us and they’d have to come home (they weren’t far). But we wanted him to start building camping memories with the grands! As Aaron said “the boy must grow to be a warrior!” Then he yelled a warrior’s yell. It was weird. Anyway, Jaron did great!
So great, in fact, he didn’t miss us AT ALL. Sure, he was happy to see us, but he actually cried in the middle of the night after coming home asking where grandpa and grandpa (grandma) and cousin Owen were. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Yah, I thought you’d agree. Ok, moving on.)
There are some traditions that simply must be carried forward, apparently. For example, roller skating will be a family tradition of ours. I couldn’t care less about roller skating. Really. Sure, I did a lot of roller skating as a kid, but it wasn’t such an important thing that I would have thought of making it a big deal for the kids. But it was a BIG deal in Aaron’s family. He still loves it! So we took Jaron out a few weeks ago for his first skate lesson with his Dad. They were both beaming and happy as well as exhausted. One trip around the rink!
To be fair, there are lots of traditions I bring to the table that Aaron couldn’t care less about, like gardening. And there will be more traditions that develop as our family does.
So let’s here them! Bring on the traditions!