Family holiday traditions

There is nothing more important than spending time with the ones we love over the Christmas holidays. One of the best ways of doing this is to have family traditions that take place year after year. This not only creates special holiday memories for you and your children, but it gives you all something to look forward to every Christmas.

You can choose to create family traditions around your religious belief or perhaps something that is unique to your family.  

What are traditions?

Traditions are practices or beliefs that are repeated at specific times. Some traditions are based on religious beliefs, such as praying before meals. Others come from cultural or ethnic heritage, such as having a braai over the weekends.  

Why are they important?

Traditions create connection between family members. It is said that traditions are the "we always" of families.  For example,  "We always open our presents on Christmas eve." Because traditions have meaning that is special to an individual family, they create feelings of warmth and closeness.

Social scientists now agree that effective family traditions promote a sense of identity and a feeling of security.  William Doherty, a social scientist, explains in his book, “The Intentional Family”, that as family bonds are weakened by busy lifestyles, families can stay connected by being intentional about maintaining important rituals and traditions.

Family traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.  Traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging. Traditions reinforce that family is important.

Creating new traditions

•    Choose traditions that include each family member and are sensitive to everyone's needs. Remember that every family is unique - do what works for you.
•    Don't try and do too many all at once.  Rather think of two or three and see how it goes.     
•    Traditions don’t have to be big events to be meaningful. Keep them simple and inexpensive. This will ensure that your tradition will be easy to follow through on each year.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

What are some of your family traditions?
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