How To Create Family Traditions

October 01, 2013
Time-honored traditions have long helped families hold each other close. Now some families are creating new traditions to share and enjoy for years to come. Maybe you remember the little things—your mother baking a gingerbread cookies during the holidays. Or maybe you recall the big Thanksgiving feasts, with enough food to feed multiple generations.

Make it fun.

One mother turned a cheerless chore into a cheerful tradition after looking at the autumn leaves burying her backyard. “I got tired of nagging everyone to rake,” she said. So she gave her husband and kids some giant bags and asked who could bag the most leaves in 2 hours. “We got competitive and had a ball.” They finished over baked apples straight from the oven, and as this grateful mom added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to everyone’s plate, she suggested the family repeat the event every year. There were no arguments. Now the family picks one day during each long Thanksgiving weekend to schedule a yearly “leaf blast.”

Set a standing date.

Another mother of two schedules one Friday night each month to bring the family together and watch a DVD. “It’s become a tradition— and the only time I let them eat in the family room,” she says. “The kids think it’s really special.” Another mother has turned Sunday night dinners into a family tradition by serving gourmet meals on her best china, treating her family like royalty.

Let your love show.

Another way to make a tradition of Sunday suppers employs a centuries-old Israeli custom that celebrates the strength family members bring to each other. While preparing the meal, cut a 6-inch fabric square for everyone who’s there. In the middle of each square put a 1⁄2 -teaspoon of whichever spices dominate the dinner; then tie each piece of fabric into tiny bundles.

During the ebb and flow of the week, these precious little bundles serve as reminders of the love and support all family members have at home.

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