Original post created 2010
Creating family traditions, sometimes no one can remember exactly who, where or when the tradition got started. It's one of those things "that we've always done."
Family traditions are a work in process...a little change here and there, a different celebration, a different location, different meal, adding to or taking away from. But the primary thing to remember is that it's a "family" tradition.
Family traditions are meant to bring loved ones closer, not drive them apart. If your treasured tradition has become a chore or a dread to participate in .....its time to morph it into something else!
No one should be held to a tradition that no longer brings joy!
Families change, children and grandchildren grow. Family members move away, others move back in. Family traditions are a work in progress and ever changing.
Start a Tradition
If you don't have any family traditions .....create some! They don't have to be elaborate. They don't have to be vacations at Disney World or snow skiing at Christmas. It's nice when they can if that's what you want to do....but with today's economy and job market....something that may have been a tradition in your family for "100 years" may have to change. Start creating family traditions and pick something simple. Don't make it something so elaborate that it will be difficult to repeat. Start simple and build.
Start small and involve children in family traditions. Take opportunities to explore what part of a celebration everyone really enjoyed......and repeat it. Make notes if you have to so you'll remember. It may be as simple as your homemade peach ice cream that you make EVERY July 4th! Or a traditional tailgating picnic with family at your team's home coming game. Just listen. Listen to the stories that your family talks about when they're quiet and having those "remember when" conversations. Maybe it was something that you could repeat.
One very small family tradition that started several years at Christmas time, was something we did for our daughter, son in law and grandchildren. We found some Snowman buckets with lids, two large and two small.
They were perfect to fill for small gifts. The smaller ones were used for the kids. Fancy name tags identified the buckets. The name tags were printed from the computer. Of course this was back in the day when there actually time to play around with a printer on occasion.
The buckets were placed under our tree that first year and they opened them last. We had a lot of fun with the grandchildren. The buckets were under the tree well before Christmas and it was always a challenge to keep them from peeking They toted the buckets around by the handles and they had been shaken quite a bit. By the time it was Christmas the older one could pretty much guess what was in his. They had such a good time opening the buckets. After all the dust settled, the buckets would be stored away for the next year. We started that tradition in 2004. We're still using the same
buckets! This is one of our family traditions that is still carried on. Every year they still save the buckets until last. The gifts have to be small to fit in the pails but sometimes the smallest gift is the best you know. Sometimes it's filled with a treasure.....sometimes it underwear! They never know........and they're never disappointed. I've been writing the year on the bottom of the pails. This post was updated in 2019 and the buckets tradition is still going strong.
Imagine my chagrin when the little "surprise" grandson came along! The bucket family of 4 had now become a family of 5! But we only had 4 buckets! Not having a bucket to match for the third grandchild just wasn't quite the same. One of our favorite family traditions was in danger of coming to an end. We had to decide whether to abandon the tradition, find new buckets which wouldn't be dated or give #3 grandson a different bucket. This probably really mattered to no one but me....but it mattered to me. I searched high and low, surfed the internet looking for an identical bucket, but had no success. I gave the little one a different bucket his first Christmas is this world. Now I know and you know, he could have cared less, all he wanted to do was roll the bucket around anyway! So we carried the tradition on, even though it just wasn't quite the same. Then one day almost 1 1/2 years after he was born....I was shopping in a department store and found two more identical buckets! They definitely were not the same price as the first ones and when I checked out the clerk said...."now you realize this price is per bucket....not for the set!" It wouldn't have mattered to me if I had spent the grocery money.....I was having those buckets))) So our little tradition goes on.....and if another little "surprise" were to come along......I still have an extra bucket!! Get started on your family traditions this holiday season. Leave us a comment and tell us what your favorite family tradition is. We love hearing from our readers.