Family traditions give comfort and build stronger relationships. They provide the foundation of who we are and link the generations through stories and shared experiences. These shared experiences give us a sense of belonging, something that many people find lacking in today’s world. It’s important to preserve them, so they don’t fade over time. Here are a few strategies to help sustain your family traditions.
Recognize and Define Your Family Traditions
The first step to keeping them alive is to find them. Each family has a unique set. Ask yourself:
- What were the customs you noticed as you grew up?
- What were the traditions you heard your grandparents and parents discuss?
- How did you handle holidays, special occasions, and other events?
Traditions can come in many forms and vary greatly from family to family. They can include favorite meals and different ways to celebrate the holidays. Some families give special gifts for unusual events, or have a vacation to the same location.
Make a List
To help keep them going, you can make a written record that can be passed down from generation to generation. Remember, family customs can fade and change over time. Sometimes when a loved one dies the knowledge of a tradition goes with them. Don’t let that happen to you. Use the holidays as a time to gather the thoughts and memories of grandparents, parents, cousins and others to create a master list?
Pictures Speak Louder Than Words
Your list doesn’t have to be limited to words. Photos and videos add a visual element that helps keep the traditions alive. They can help family members understand important events that contribute to the traditions. Each year you can ask family members to share their photos and videos to add interest for future generations.
It’s important to keep traditions flexible enough to work with your lifestyle. It’s fine to change traditions over time to make them realistic. In 1799, it took one family three days of baking to prepare just the pies for the feast? I don’t know of anyone who’s willing to follow that tradition today!
You may admire your grandmother’s tradition of cooking an eight course meal from scratch every Thanksgiving without help. However, you don’t necessarily have to follow the exact procedure. Don’t feel guilty about letting others help. The ideal family traditions will help your family members bond and make cherished memories together.
Consider Creating New Ones
Saving old traditions is only one part of the process. You can build new ones, too, as your family grows and changes. Each year you can sit down as a family to decide if the old ones are still relevant. Get rid of old traditions that don’t fit, but be sure to make a record of it just in case. Future generations may enjoy seeing how traditions have changed over time.
Creating a new tradition? Don’t even think about doing it all by yourself. Gather your family together and work on new ideas together. This is a slow process, so patience is a virtue everyone will need to practice. If the plan adds to your family’s enjoyment and succeeds in bringing your family members closer together, you might just have a wonderful new tradition!
Family traditions can help build stronger connections among family members. It builds community and helps families to stay together even during difficult times. Your traditions should be enjoyable for everyone. Using these simple steps you can preserve them for future generations. Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will thank you.