Each of us grew up looking forward to things in life that we could “count on.” Even though we did not know it at the time…these treasured experiences have become “traditions.” Included in this group would be things like: how the house smells at Thanksgiving; the types of food we eat on certain holidays; whether we read the Christmas story from the book of Luke on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day…and on and on.
Children love traditions! Adults love traditions! Each year we look forward to re-experiencing meaningful memories. For different families this list of valued traditions can be very unique…For example, in my family we never have mashed potatoes for the Christmas or Thanksgiving meals. For some families, though, things are just not right without the mashed potatoes on the dinner table for both occasions.
If you were to make a list today of annual family traditions, what would be on your list? Never forget that this list of treasured memories usually began during the childhood years. So the question becomes, as a family, what will be the traditions that your kids remember? Consider these and then plan to make some of these happen throughout the year:
- A time when the family reads from the Bible together. This might be at Christmas when we read the story of Jesus’ birth and Thanksgiving when we read Psalms of thanksgiving.
- A family group time at Christmas. One of my greatest joys each year is gathering my twelve grandchildren (soon to be thirteen!) for a time of singing, sharing the Christmas story and playing games together that help us remember this blessed time of year. (For years, my grandkids have dressed up and acted out the Christmas story…very easy to do with just a few pieces of fabric and a few props.)
- A planned time just before Thanksgiving dinner when each family member names just one thing for which he/she is grateful.
- A concerted effort to attend church together on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
- An effort to make each family member an Easter card always including the phrase, “He Is Risen!”
- A birthday dinner for each member of the family letting the birthday person choose the restaurant.
Traditions don’t have to be complicated. They can be very simple:
- Going out for ice cream every Friday night.
- Going on Daddy Dates and Mommy Dates.
- Choosing one night of the week when everyone in the family is committed to staying home and playing games.
- Memorizing one Bible verse a week together as a family
You get the idea! Plan for fun times together as a family and “keep your promises” when it comes to honoring these times together. Your kids will love it!