Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Family Traditions

Merriam-Webster defines tradition as "an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior."  People often associate traditions with a specific cultures or religion, but they can be as simple as a ritual that families engage in over and over. My partner and I have made a point to create a set of holiday traditions because it gives us something to look forward to, and brings us together as a family.  

If you live near a beach in the United States, chances are you have a favorite summer vacation spot that you re-visit each year that is an event many children would look forward to as school comes to and end each year.  American family traditions vary from family to family, but there are a few that are consistent surrounding the holidays, such as Thanksgiving dinner or fireworks on the fourth of July.  Traditions can provide a family with a sense of identity.  If you can create something more, a set of very specific events that you maintain over a long period of time, the chances that those routines will be passed on to the next generation are higher.  

As I became a parent myself, I started to look at what traditions I could share with my young family, but so much was missing.  Planning events and making sure all of the elements are present takes quite a bit of thought and effort.  As people become busier and busier with everyday life, convenience items and minimizing effort to get things done becomes the norm.  Someone has to be the champion of the tradition, and want to put in the effort to keep it going. As extended families have spread out all over the world, there is often not a central person such as a grandparent to keep these rituals going.  As young and middle-aged adults, these traditions are just a hassle and inconvenience, but for children they are essential for shaping their personal identity.

I want my children to look back on their childhood and have positive memories; to feel as though they are a part of something unique and extraordinary.  Holidays are an easy way to establish traditions, but they are sometimes daily connection activities that re-enforce our family values.  Below is a list of a few of the traditions we have established for our family:
  • On your birthday, you will wake up to the "Happy Birthday" sign and balloons decorating the main hallway of the house.  You will have birthday cards waiting for you on the kitchen table from each family member. Nobody has to work on their birthday, whether its corporately, or household chores.
  • On Christmas Eve we create a snack tray of specific foods every year to be eaten as we open a few family-to-family gifts.  The menu never changes, and it includes at least one favorite items for each person.
What are some of your family traditions you remember from your childhood? Are there any that you didn't like, but still do? Share your writing in the comments below.

Daily Writing Response 11/300 

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