I don’t remember having many family traditions as I was growing up that weren’t related to holidays, but one thing I do remember is that having dinner together as a family was always a priority. Now that I have my own family, I have continued that tradition.
Isn’t that often the way it is? Family traditions are often passed down through the generations because somewhere along the way, they became part of who we are.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, family traditions are based on the things we value most. For my family, we valued creating a bond over food and sharing about our days.
And, in the spirit of being more intentional, I want to create family traditions with purpose. I want traditions that take the things we value and make them visible and practical in our regular lives.
Family traditions are going to look very different from one family to the next because we all value different things. But if you are anything like me, you need to hear what others are doing to get your wheels turning and give you ideas for what might work for your family. In that case, I wanted to provide you with a few ideas to get you started.
- Plant a garden. Not only does garden food taste 100 times better than grocery food (hello, tomatoes!), it also gives kids a chance to see where food comes from and take on small chores outside.
- Celebrate your child’s rite of passage on their 13th birthday. I first heard of this idea from Mark Batterson. He takes each of his kids on a grand adventure tailored to celebrate their 13th birthday.
- Run/walk a 5k race as a family. If your family values health and being active, sign up to run or walk a 5k together every year.
- Go on vacation. I have a close friend whose extended family goes to the same vacation spot every Thanksgiving. It is something her whole family always looks forward to.
- Create a family bucket list. Each month, I come up with a list of things we will do as a family. I keep it pretty simple like roasting marshmallows or putting together a puzzle. And, if I know the month will be busy, I keep the list short and sweet.
- Volunteer or do something kind for someone. If generosity and giving back is something your family values, then plan a small act of kindness that you can do together.
- Dates with your spouse or kids. Make it a tradition that every month, you and your spouse go out for date night. You can also plan a date for your child. Each child will appreciate having a parent all to themselves for a couple of hours.
- Read-alouds. If your kids love books, pick out one that is full of adventure and something great to read aloud. Put the best storyteller in charge of reading to the group.
- Family meetings. Hold a meeting with older kids to discuss what is happening for the upcoming month and things you might like to do.
- Game night. Whether your family likes card games, board games, video games or a sports game, have one night that everyone knows the battle is on.
- Special meal. Your crowd may love a Friday pizza night or a Sunday morning big breakfast. Taco Tuesday is super popular too.
- Movie night. Pop some popcorn, draw the shades and enjoy a movie together.
This post at The Better Mom has some other fun weekly tradition ideas.
- Dinner together. What do you want your family dinner traditions to look like? You could discuss the best part of your day, pray over your food, go screen-free for the meal, or tell something you are thankful for.
- Devotions. If you value faith and scripture, have a daily devotion time with your family.
- Bedtime ritual. Create a strong evening ritual that helps everyone wind down. Include things like a story, prayers, stretches or yoga.
- After-dinner walks. Take a walk after dinner instead of turning on the TV.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” – Chuck Swindoll
If I’m totally honest, I don’t want my girls to remember some of the things I do, like spend way too much time on my phone, or say, like “I can’t play right now. I’m busy.” I’ll never be perfect, but I can purposefully build in a couple of regular traditions to make sure we are putting great memories in their banks.
What about you? What traditions does your family have?