Posts Tagged ‘family traditions’

A toddler sitting in the grass with plastic Easter eggs

Yesterday was Easter. Under normal circumstances, my family would gather at my grandparents house in observance of the holiday for an after-church lunch, and then an egg hunt for the little ones. This year was noticeably different. My husband and I watched a live-streaming church service from home and then ate lunch in our kitchen with our 1 year-old son. We did, however, take our son out for his first egg hunt! My grandparents watched from their porch while my husband and I helped our son find eggs they “hid” in their yard.

Reflecting on Easter 2020, I found the activity of naming gratitude and loss to be a helpful way to identify and process the various emotions I have experienced this season. We all have experienced loss this season, with some losses being bigger than others. Many have felt the impact of canceled vacations, sports seasons, concerts and other events. Some have lost loved ones. Family traditions and celebrations for holidays, birthdays, weddings and other events have been modified. It is normal and natural to experience grief associated with these losses. Naming your losses is a way to identify and validate the emotions you feel as you grieve.

Don’t stop with naming losses, however; take time to make a list of things for which you are grateful as well! Pairing a list of gratitude with your list of losses does not minimize the impact of your loss, and it can help you remain hopeful and optimistic during difficult times. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact of gratitude practice on overall health, ability to cope with stress and outlook in general.

In my reflection regarding this holiday weekend, I took time to appreciate the opportunity I had to visit with my grandparents, even though it was a non-traditional visit. My son is happy and healthy, which is a true blessing.

What are you grateful for this season?

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu


Griffin, B.R. (2020). Naming loss and gratitude with young people in these uncertain days. Fuller Youth Institute. https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/naming-loss-and-gratitude-with-young-people

Miller, K.D. (2020). 14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science. https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-gratitude/


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familyDoes the rush of the holiday season leave you feeling as if you might be missing something? With so many things to do and places to go, it is important not to overlook elderly family members. For many, the holidays are filled with celebrations and festivities with family and friends, but it can be a difficult time for those who have difficulty getting around, or are confined to their homes. Many seniors report feelings of loneliness and isolation, and these feelings can be exaggerated during the holidays. Seniors might choose to forego family celebrations and festivities for fear of falling or being a burden.

Unfortunately a day out with an elderly person cannot be spontaneous. However, with a little pre-planning and modifications, holiday traditions and activities can be made easier and safer for senior family members.  Contemplate ways to include older relatives who may have difficulty getting around.

First, consider the activity. Is it suitable for elderly family members?  When planning, some factors to think through are:

  • How far can the elderly person travel?
  • Are the costs affordable to the senior?
  • How much walking is involved?  Are there hills or other obstacles that would make it hard to navigate?
  • Is there wheelchair access?
  • Is there parking nearby?
  • Are restrooms easily accessible?
  • Are there benches or chairs that can be used?

It is also important to think about what you need to take with you on any outing. You will want to be prepared for anything. For example:

  • Make sure you have all the medications needed. Take an extended supply, just in case you are still out when the next dose is due.
  • Have clothing appropriate for the weather and the outing. Comfortable shoes and warm weather clothes are important. Bring along extra clothes in the case of an accident.
  • Bring some snacks and plenty of water.

Once you get to the activity, the next step is to be alert to any hazards or problems that might occur. Holidays are a joyful time of year meant for get-togethers, memories, and a touch of nostalgia. However, the holiday season can be one of the most dangerous times for seniors. For example:

  • You may be perfectly capable of navigating the string of Christmas lights sprawled across the living room floor, but an elderly person may trip over them and experience a severe fall.
  • Be aware of how decorations may affect your loved ones ability to move freely throughout the home without increasing the risk of falls. Just because you can easily navigate the extra decorations, doesn’t mean that your loved one will.
  • Look for extension cords or floor rugs that can lead to a fall.
  • Consider the effect that too much clutter can have on a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Too many lights, music and decorations can prove to be too overwhelming.
  • Make sure that walkways are clear of ice and snow.

The holidays give seniors something to look forward to, provide a stimulating change of scene, and create pleasant memories to carry with them. So, even though it may take a little extra planning and work, involving your senior family members in holiday celebrations can improve the meaning of the holiday season.





Writer: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region

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turkey on tableAs we move into the holiday season, think about the special memories that they hold for you. Can you remember your first Thanksgiving dinner? Who prepared the turkey? Did you have pumpkin pie? Or, was there a special activity reserved just for this day? Were you a part of the annual football game after dinner? These special memories are part of your family traditions.

Traditions are a key to strong families because they build strong relationships between generations. It may be by sharing the preparation of a special recipe. The important part is the conversation that takes place about who first made it and how this recipe tradition got started. Be sure to share your special memories with your children, grandchildren and friends. Traditions also make the holidays special just by bringing people together. Even though traditions are important, they can cause stress as well. Don’t be afraid to bend them a bit if necessary. Include traditions from all family members, even those who are new to the family and bring with them traditions that may seem foreign to you. Don’t become stressed by a tradition, make it fit your situation.

Here are some ideas for your Thanksgiving or other holiday traditions:
• Just because grandma made all the food from scratch doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t feel guilty about buying foods for a special meal, especially if time is a constraint.
• Use recipes that are simple or ones you are familiar with.
• Serve fewer foods.
• Let family members help, when someone offers to bring part of the meal, say yes.
• Remember others who are less fortunate than you by volunteering to serve a holiday meal, donating your time to a food pantry, or hosting a food drive.

Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Liz Smith, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, North East Region

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Lazy Daisy Cake RecipeI have things about my family that I wonder about . . . . How did my grandparents meet? What was life like for them years ago? What were their family traditions? According to the Search Institute, family assets are the everyday things that families do to be strong, even in challenging times.

Take time this year to learn about your family traditions. What are your family recipes? When I was a young adult my grandma wrote out her recipes for me in a recipe book and gave it to me one Christmas holiday. Those recipes in her handwriting are precious to me. I recently found a similar recipe book and vow to copy or write the recipes for the second book. Why? I would like for both of my daughters to have a recipe book with their great grandma’s recipes. I hope to continue the tradition of the Lazy Daisy Cake that my grandma often made. Informing the younger generations about our family traditions helps them know about their family history and traditions and can strengthen their sense of family support.


My Grandma Treber loved to quilt and when I was a teen she taught me to hand stitch. I picked my purple (my favorite color) and white and we started piecing the quilt. She cut out the pieces of the quilt and I made a few squares. She taught me the importance of tiny stitches and how you have to be precise if you want the quilt squares to fit correctly. We both worked on the quilt but she did the majority since she had more time to work on it than I did. One day when I stopped by for a visit, the quilt top was finished. She’d been working on it while she watched her stories (afternoon TV shows). That quilt and the time I spent with my grandma hold precious memories for me.

The Search Institute identifies Family Assets that help families be strong. When families have more of these research-based assets, the teens and adults in the family do better in life.

Establishing Routines
• Family meals – Family members eat meals together most days in a typical week.
• Shared activities – Family members regularly spend time doing everyday activities together.
• Meaningful traditions – Holidays, rituals, and celebrations are part of family life.
• Dependability – Family members know what to expect from one another day-to-day.

Each of these qualities is important and strengthens your family. For additional information about Family Assets, visit the Search Institute website. Everyone can play a role in developing and strengthening these assets. All members of the family including children, teens and the adults contribute to these family assets.

Recipe Book

Perhaps this is the year that you will talk to your parent or grandparent about their family stories. Collect those recipes and make them into a family recipe book. You might enjoy interviewing a family member and recording their responses. Use your phone, flip camera or other recording device to capture those family memories. You will be rewarded by spending time with a family member and offering them a family book or recording to treasure. There are many options for you – online recipe cards, recipe boxes, and recipe or cook books. Have copies made for family members – what a wonderful Mother’s Day gift you can create.

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Dana Brown, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4642@osu.edu

Sources:  The Family Assets Framework retrieved from http://www.search-institute.org/familyassets/framework

Hosier, A., Jenkins-Howard, B. & Mineer, S., Creating and Maintaining Family Traditions, University of Kentucky, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture, retrieved March 2013 from http://johnson.ca.uky.edu/sites/johnson.ca.uky.edu/files/FCS/Creating_and_maintaing_family_traditions_pub.pdf



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Strand of PearlsYou have a favorite necklace that was passed down to you from your grandmother. You realize that no one in your family knows the history of the piece – they don’t know if it was a gift from your grandfather to your grandmother on their 25th anniversary or if she got it from her parents for her 18th birthday. If this information isn’t written down or verbally shared, this important part of your family history may be lost.
Our lives are busy and often we don’t think about these things until someone passes on. Then we realize we wish we had our mom’s recipe for Thanksgiving dressing (stuffing) or apple pie. She made it from scratch and we thought it was written down but no one can find it.
Perhaps this year you can set aside some time to talk to your parents or grandparents about their lives. Ask the questions you always wanted to ask and record or document their answers. If they are willing – use a video camera, digital camera, or iPad to record their stories. There are even books available for grandparents to fill out which would also help guide you with some questions.
Think about an item you have in your possession – where will it be in 30 years? Where would you like for it to be?

Make your wishes known by sharing this information with family members, record it in your will, or tag the item for your loved one. Take time to talk to your family members and find out those special recipes, your family history and traditions.
Realize that personal belongings have different meanings to people. Perhaps you always wanted your grandmother’s handmade quilt. Before she passes on, talk to her about it. She may be thrilled that you honor her work and that you are interested in preserving that memory.QUILT

If you have a family reunion or gathering, take time to talk to your family members about special items that you’d like passed on. Find out the family recipes and write them down or see if you can make a copy of your mother or grandmother’s recipe cards. Preserve those memories for future generations.
Remember that everyone has property or possessions to transfer. While you are alive as the “current owner” of the property, you have the legal right to decide who gets what.
Begin now by communicating your goals to your family and talking about which items you want to transfer and how. Take simple steps to ensure that your items are distributed to those you want and your intentions are carried out. Write down or record those pieces of family history – you have something g valuable to pass on to future generations.


“Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?”  Minnesota Extension Service @ University of Minnesota


Written by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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Many families celebrate the holidays filled with rich traditions and rituals. These traditions and rituals help families bond together and give children a sense of belonging. The little rituals passed down from generation to generation help shape your family by creating a sense of unity, warmth and closeness. They create memories that fill your mind with peace, love, happiness, and security. With such busy lives, some find it difficult to find time to begin to incorporate family traditions throughout the year, but there are many small ways to bring traditions into our daily lives. Eating dinner together as a family, going for an evening walk, watching a movie, reading a bedtime story, or even cooking together can become part of a daily or weekly routine. These are some of the little things your children will remember as they grow older, and likely will pass on to their children. As the Super bowl approaches, so does another chance to begin and build family traditions. Simple, family activities can bring the family together as they watch the biggest football game of the year.

Plan the menu-Let your children help plan and prepare the menu for a Super Bowl party. A favorite dish prepared year after year can be part of the Super Bowl tradition.

Let the kids decorate. Get out some pens or crayons in team colors, paper, scissors, glue sticks, a stapler etc. Set up a T-shirt decorating table for children to design their own T-shirt. Let the children put on a fashion show as part of the half-time activities.

Indoor fun. Have a small football, yellow piece of cloth or some other small football-themed object on hand for a game of Find It! Have older children help the younger ones find objects hidden throughout the house. There can be special rewards depending on the items they find.

Table football. Make a paper football and create an annual table football tournament. Have a self-created Lombardi Trophy to pass down from year to year.

Kids love and thrive on traditions because they cultivate a sense of belonging and security. Making traditions a priority in family life is important as well as fun. By doing so, our kids will not only learn to appreciate and look forward to the time they spend with family members, but they will also develop a full understanding of the meaning behind the word “Family.”

More information about family traditions can be found at Ohio State University Extension Ohioline http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm00/fs12.html

Author: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Butler County/Miami Valley ERRA, green.1405@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Linette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline, http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm00/fs12.ht
Traditions: A Foundation for Strong Families http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu/issues/1999/December/traditions.aspx

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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.

Here are a few fun family traditions:

  • 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.

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