How to Create Your Own Family Traditions (That Will Last!)
Traditions are such a meaningful way to come together as a family to celebrate the many phases and seasons of the calendar year. While Holidays serve as excellent placeholders for traditions, seasons are also a great time to come up with your own unique traditions to lay claim to as a family. Fall in particular is a magical time of year that is full of beauty and change, but also comes with quite a bit of business for families! (Back to school, the holiday season, travel plans, etc) This fall, we invite you to slow down and create a few traditions centered around fall that you can enjoy with your family every year. Traditions that maybe don’t need to take place on one singular date, but traditions that you can incorporate at a time that makes sense for your family. Here are our favorite tips for bringing these traditions to life, as well as a few of our favorite non-conventional ideas.
As we previously mentioned, traditions that aren’t oriented around one particular date, but are rather meant to be incorporated with and around the change in seasons (like fall) can be quite freeing. No one likes the feeling of missing a date that they meant to remember, so give yourself some space by creating traditions that you can you can enjoy at a time that works best for you family each year.
It’s definitely worth cautioning that if things get too ambiguous they don’t always get done, so some boundaries can be helpful like setting aside the first weekend in fall for a tradition, but if it doesn’t happen the first weekend, do it the second.
Here are few examples of things that happen annually, that aren't directly associated with a specific Holiday:
- Changes in season (Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer)
- Back to School
- Black History Month
- Spring Break
- The First Snowfall (weather specific traditions can be even more special!)
Create Traditions the can Evolve as Your Family Evolves
Inevitably, every one in your family will be a year older each time your enjoy a annal tradition together. (funny how that works, isn’t it?) So choosing traditions that allow space and room for them to change a bit to keep everyone interested are ideal.
For example, rather than creating a hyperspecific tradition like watching a certain movie together (which sometimes can be great) maybe switch things up to creating an “Annual Fall Movie Night” where you choose a movie together, and perhaps a special snack to go with, like Homemade Kettle Corn or Pumpkin Cookies. That way the tradition feels special with a specific snack, but the movie can change as kids get older and their interests change.
Other examples of traditions that are highly "adaptable":
- Taking a hike or nature walk together and take a picture of your favorite thing you see
- Google "this years most popular Christmas cookie" and bake whichever result comes first
- Play a family board game together wearing matching jammies
- Take a family photo all wearing the same color in a new place every year
- Visit a local business together that opened that year
- Bring baked treats to your neighbors (everyone loves something pumpkin-y to welcome fall!)
One great way to create a tradition that feels authentic to your unique family is to get creative and make the tradition based on things your family loves! For example, if one child loves to be outside, one child loves to draw, and one child loves to bake (or you have tiny littles that are still learning what they love) – try to think of creative ways to intertwine these interests.
For this particular example, perhaps a tradition of we all take 30 minutes on a weekend to “greet fall” in a way that feels meaningful (maybe outside in nature, by drawing a fall picture, or by eating or baking a fall treat!) then coming together to share, that can be a tradition in an of itself. So long as there’s some kind of structure and space for the tradition to live on year after year, you can create meaningful traditions that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Set a Reminder
This is perhaps the most important tip, as we’ve all done something and had a great time doing it and then got too busy to ever enjoy doing it again! When establishing new traditions for your family, for at least the first go around, make sure to set a series of intentional reminders on your phone. Anyone who has a smartphone can do this, and I promise you will thank yourself for it. After your brainstorming session to decide what kind of tradition sounds enjoyable, choose a date to be reminded of this tradition so you remember to make room for it the following year.
Or after you enjoy something together and have that thought of “I wish we did this every year!” set a reminder in your phone for 1 year to the date (or a few weeks before if you want to be reminded earlier) to start planning. If one reminder is enough, great! But setting a few can also be helpful, as we all know life can get pretty busy.
Even if you're not someone who regularly uses reminders on your phone, just using them for the sole purpose of establishing a tradition is well worth it. And incase it's helpful, check out the Youtube video below if you need help doing this on an iPhone.