Creating Family Rituals and Holiday Traditions

Creating Family Rituals and Holiday Traditions

by Maria Bailey

Think back to the holidays of your youth. What was your fondest memory? Perhaps it was hanging a special ornament on the tree, baking your grandmotherÂ’s sugar cookie recipe or leaving carrots on the table for SantaÂ’s reindeer? Whatever it was, most likely it was an activity your family did every year. Your cherished memories were created by the traditions unique to you and your family. Now itÂ’s your turn as a parent to set in motion the memories that will last a lifetime for your child.

Rituals and traditions give birth to our family histories. They highlight relationships with loved ones and allow us to keep the memory of those who have passed away alive in the hearts of our children. As parents, we are role models. Our children imitate our actions, beliefs, and thoughts. When we recall happy times with our families or re-create an experience we shared with our parents, it teaches our children to appreciate lifeÂ’s simple times and look for those special moments in their own lives. Repetition is an important way of learning for our children. Rituals re-create an action or message in the mind of your child over and over again. Children love repetition; it creates a sense of security in their lives. To feel secure, a child needs to feel that his or her world is predictable. Rituals help our children feel safe, giving them a greater sense of self-confidence.

Parents can turn simple times into holiday rituals. Here are a few ideas for adding the magic of tradition to everyday activities this Christmas season:

Holiday Movie Premier Night: Kick off the holiday season each year with a movie premier night featuring your favorite Christmas DVD or video. MickeyÂ’s Twice Upon A Christmas or any well-loved title can get everyone in the mood for the excitement of the holidays. Serve your familyÂ’s favorite snacks, turn down the lights, and snuggle on the couch together for an evening of laughs and fun.

Oh, Christmas Tree!: Some of the best traditions are formed around decorating the Christmas tree. Allow each member of the family to pick a favorite ornament or special decoration and give them the privilege of placing it on the tree each year. It might be placing the star on the top of the tree like Pluto does in MickeyÂ’s Twice Upon a Christmas or stringing popcorn for the tree. Anything repeated year after year can become a ritual.

Cheers to Holiday Foods: Food and drinks can create great family traditions. For Donald Duck in MickeyÂ’s Twice Upon a Christmas, it was sipping hot cocoa while listening to holiday music, but any special recipe will do. Spiced apples, cider, grandmaÂ’s cookies, or warm soups can serve up memories that your children will savor for many years to come.

About the author

Maria Bailey, is a nationally known family organizational expert and founder of Named one of AmericaÂ’s Best Work/Family Balance resources by INC Magazine. Proud mother of four.

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