What is your holiday family tradition? Do you have certain foods that you have to have on New Year’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or during a football bowl game? Do you have a special way you decorate your holiday tree, your porch, or front door? Do you have a special book you read together or a game you play? It doesn’t really matter what your tradition is, but it is important for strong families to have holiday traditions.
Research shows that developing rituals around the holidays create a sense of belonging among family members. Strong families have a sense of family history, spirituality, and unity – all which tie into family holiday traditions. Family holiday traditions are also important because they connect family members who may be separated by distance, working different schedules, or just busy with sports, school or jobs. These traditions help us to remain close to our family members and create a connection between our past and the future.
As you decide what family traditions you want to keep and those that you may be ready to give up think about why you enjoy them? Is it spending time together, sharing your talents with others, or maybe a spiritual belief you have? Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive, often the things we remember the most about spending time with our grandparents is the day they taught use to play a special card game, or when they let us help make the favorite family meal. Don’t forget to ask you children or other family members what traditions they want to make sure you keep, and which ones aren’t so important to them – you might be surprised. They may say that the evening you drive around the neighborhood looking a holiday lights, making homemade cookies together, or reading the book about the snowman are their favorite things.
- Volunteer – work the food bank or donate toys or food to someone who needs it more than you do.
- Camp out under your family tree while listening to holiday music.
- Read at least one holiday book together.
- Attend a community music program, play, or musical together. They are usually very reasonably priced and would love to have more people in the audience.
Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Holiday Traditions Bring Families Together, Texas Woman’s University, J. Armstrong.
Building Family Strengths, Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
Holiday Traditions, Ohio State University Extension, T. West.