How would you define traditions? When do traditions take place? How do you create traditions for your family? I would define traditions as a special, repeated experience that brings love and a sense of community. For my family, it can be when we take the time to acknowledge a major occasion or just a day for fun.
Growing up, my favorite tradition was making a cake to celebrate birthdays. In my single-parent household, sweets were not really tolerated, so cake-making time was something I especially looked forward to. My mother’s born-day celebration is in Summer, and mine happens in Winter. She loves chocolate, and my favorite cake mix is yellow. (We had a perfect balance.) Two times a year, we would take out the cake bowls, mixer, frosting, spatula, and other cooking materials. Oh, how I loved shopping for that famous boxed cake mix and frosting! My mother was no chef, so this time in the kitchen meant a lot to me. It was not only a time for bonding, but I also got permission to do things out of the ordinary, like licking the bowl… There were yummy happy feelings all over the house, along with the sweet smell of cake and frosting.
When thinking about traditions for your family:
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Some of the traditions that you grew up with will work splendidly with your family.
2. Be flexible. If the time comes when the tradition needs to be reevaluated, do it. (Its good practice to keep the tradition the same but make the activity developmentally appropriate for the ages of your children)
3. Focus on Family. The traditions built will shape your little one’s sense of self and community.
Last winter, we decided to start a tradition that focuses on creativity and growth. Like always with our activities, I had my mind set on finding a way to fold in a relevant developmental skill. We had our little one help create a holiday ornament and picture.
What is the developmental skill? The goal is to, over time, build a collection of framed artwork and ornaments for our home created by our family.
Each year we can all take part in carving out the time to create art, which we all share pride in making. Hopefully, the questions above can help you figure out what traditions will work with your family. Remember, the goal is to have fun with each other and create special memories.