Traditions are powerful. Talk to an adult about some happy memories they have of their childhood and teenage years and ask them what made them special. I’m sure that before long they’ll smile and say, “We always…” Usually these memories are not filled with what was bought or how much money was spent but activities like board game marathons, special holidays, or trips to the beach. Happy memories like these are the gifts that keep on giving, often from generation to generation.
Traditions are customs or rituals that families do over and over again, which can encompass anything from reading stories at bedtimes to always having pizza on Saturday nights and everything in between! They also include the things that we do on special occasions, such as how we celebrate Christmas and what birthdays look like in our families. Annual celebrations and holidays provide the perfect opportunity to create traditions – and it’s never too early or too late to start.
Every family is unique and when it comes to making memories and family traditions, anything goes. In our family, we race to be the first to send a text at midnight as one month gives way to the next. It may seem silly to everyone else, but there is something magical about those moments at the start of each new month that glues my mum, my brother and I together. We even have a prize for the overall winner at the end of each year, which feeds our slightly competitive natures!
One important role of the family is to provide a sense of belonging and connectedness. Traditions are part of this, with strong bonds being formed as we feel part of something special and unique. They give us opportunities to interact closely with each other and can help us to understand our place in the world.
Family traditions can also be a vital source of comfort and security, for example during times of change and grief. When everything around feels new and strange, knowing that every Tuesday is still games night and that every Saturday we’ll still have breakfast for dinner can bring consistency and security.
Whilst some family traditions are inherited, other come about by chance. Traditions can be a great way of passing on our values and sharing cultural and religious heritage. Continuing them is one way of passing down family history and nurturing connections between generations.
Traditions don’t have to be big or expensive to be a fun, meaningful part of family life. Take a look at our tips for some ideas you and your family could use…