Family traditions: Start one today

One of the best parts of being a part of a family are traditions! What’s one of your favorite family traditions? If you can’t think of one, this article is the perfect place to get some tips for great family traditions!

There are no limits to what a tradition can be.  Photo credit: Pixabay.

There are no limits to what a tradition can be. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Remember the saying, “Family, you can’t pick them?” For some, that saying may be very true and for others, they may actually get to choose their family! However family is defined for you, hopefully you have a group of people that you surround yourself with that supports, encourages and helps to positively define your idea of what family looks like. Regardless of what your family make up looks like, one of the best parts of being a part of a family are traditions! What’s one of your favorite family traditions? If you can’t think of one, this article is the perfect place to get some tips for great family traditions!

To begin, it’s important to understand why family traditions are important. In an article written by Denise Witmer, she suggests the following five reasons to observe family traditions:

  1. Family traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember.
  2. Family traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging.
  3. Family traditions help youth with his/her identity.
  4. Family traditions help parents impart the family’s values to their children.
  5. Family traditions offer youth a sense of security.

The benefits of family traditions are simple and straightforward. Most family members would like to see these types of benefits for all of their family members and friends. However, if family traditions seem overwhelming to you or you feel like you just don’t have time, Dr. Susan Coady of The Ohio State University spoke in an interview about family traditions where she suggests the following:

  • Traditions start easily. Once you have children and you do something more than once, you’re going to do it again because the children come to expect it. Often times traditions are started intentionally to create family roots or stability.
  • There are no limits to what a tradition can be. Although most traditions revolve around the holidays, families who have everyday routines often have traditions too. Consider reading a bedtime story every night or who sits where at the kitchen table. Although traditions are usually something  a little more special, you’ll know it’s a tradition when there is disappointment that it doesn’t happen.
  • Traditions are family-specific. While a culture or ethnic group might influence the occasion  the family celebrates, the family puts their own stamp on the way they celebrate it. Everyone celebrates holidays differently, which is why a tradition is family-specific.
  • Traditions can change. It’s important for people not to hang onto traditions that cause them more grief than they’re worth. Sometimes you have to let traditions go and then make new ones, or at least adapt the old ones to new situations.

Family, you can’t pick them! Whether that’s true for you or not, you can pick a family tradition! Don’t wait, there are so many benefits to family traditions and traditions can be started any time. Start one today! Visit Michigan State University Extension for more helpful holiday tips.