I love family traditions. They were very important to me growing up. I remember being very proud to tell my friends that our family always did this or that and I counted on the holidays being the same each year- even serving the same foods. Even now I think back on things I looked forward to each year with a fondness that helps me remember and appreciate my family- even those who are long gone.
So when Brian and I started our family, it was very important to me to start meaningful family traditions. We already had some that were passed down to us from our parents and grandparents (going to church, regular dinners, holiday get-togethers, and summer activities), but we (well, mainly me…) wanted to start our own new family traditions.
In fact, I remember making advent stockings to be able to celebrate advent more intentionally (not done when I was growing up) the Christmas before our son was even born.
Yeah, I had some time on my hands. My how things change.
But beyond how it makes me or my family feel, why are these little things we do together as a family important?
Because they are vital for the well-being and health of every family.
When I looked up “Family Traditions” on Wikipedia, I was surprised to read that social scientists very strongly believe in the value of family traditions. They have even coined a term- “entropic family”- to describe a family that looses it’s unique bonds over time because it’s members time and energy were focused outside of the nuclear family.
A family loosing it’s bonds? Sadly, I can think of a few families I know that after the kids have grown really don’t make time for each other. What’s even sadder to me is that they don’t think there’s anything is strange about it. We weren’t made to remain attached at the hip to our families, but we aren’t meant to be islands, either. There is a balance that is important to the way we view and navigate through our world.
So, if our increasingly busy lifestyles can cause our family bonds to “loosen over time,” what do we do to combat these sometimes unchangeable circumstances?
By being intentional about cultivating and maintaining rituals and traditions within our families.
And these most certainly don’t have to be expensive and complicated. In fact I try to think of things that are simple, fun, frugal, and, maybe most importantly, easily repeatable on a regular basis.
What- you’re surprised by this?
So, check back all week (better yet, subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!) for simple and fun ideas for building your own family traditions. I will be focusing each day on traditions our family has enjoyed:
- Around The Table
- Around the Holidays
I’d love to hear about your family traditions, too. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to create a list after this week of some tried-and-true traditions families can incorporate in order to be intentional about developing and nurturing our family unity?