Family Traditions that Stand the Test of Time

New Years Eve 2011 London
Ring in the new year with these holiday traditions (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The holiday season is the time of year most associated with family traditions It makes sense that many of our favorite traditions would form and flourish when we are most likely to be spending the most time with close friends and extended family.  And while the holidays are not the only time when families come together and traditions are formed, many of our longest lasting and most memorable traditions come out of this time of year.

Traditions are important for families of all types and sizes.  They are one of the things that unite us and make us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves.  Our traditions provide a sense of stability and security in an often uncertain and unstable world.  They are one of the ways we connect with each other and their repetitive nature strengthens that connection year after year.  Our traditions bring us close and form the foundation of many of the memories that will be cherish from childhood through the lives our own children and long after we have passed them on to the next generation.

Here are a few of the most beloved family traditions that can help your family come together and connect this holiday season.  Remember, traditions don’t have to be complex, extravagant, expensive, or intense.  Sometimes it is the simplest things that make the most lasting impression!

1.     Baking Bonanza

One of the hallmarks of the holiday season is the cookies, cakes, and other sweet treats that always seem to be available.  You can turn your holiday baking into a family tradition by bringing together all the bakers for a day to make all the candies and cookies you need for the whole season.  Everyone brings a few recipes, everyone pitches in, and everyone leaves with a wide range of sweets and treats and closer ties to family.

2.     Holiday Film Festival

Count down the days left until Christmas by hosting a holiday film festival.  Ask family members to suggest their favorite movies and then watch one movie each night to get everyone in the holiday spirit.  Put out cookies and pop some popcorn and share the holiday movies that have been memorable to each member of the family.  Who knows, “The Grinch” might become Grandma’s new favorite and your teenager might be inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

3.     New Year, New You Fondue

Rather than ringing in the New Year at a ritzy romp with a couple hundred people you don’t know, stay home and welcome the New Year with family and friends.  Fondue is a great way to share a fun leisurely meal and it can provide a nice change from the heavier, more formal meals that are common at Hannukah and Christmas.  Spend this time looking back at the year you are leaving behind and ahead at the year to come.  Ask everyone to pick their favorite things about the old year and a few things they are looking forward to in the New Year.  Just be careful you don’t get so wrapped up in conversation that you miss midnight!


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