I remember when I was in the youth choir at our church- every year at the end of our tour we had to have “Senior Circle”. It was an emotional night when our graduating seniors talked to the group about what their time in choir had meant to them and passed on any wisdom that they wanted to share with the younger members of the group. It was usually accompanied by some tears and a heartfelt singing of Michael W. Smith’s “Friends”. Cheesy, right? But, it was tradition! I believe they still do a form of senior circle today in that choir- maybe minus the Michael W. Smith… What if your family had some traditions like that? Doesn’t take a lot of money or an act of congress- if you declare it a tradition- it’s a tradition, right? Here are just a couple suggestions about creating traditions from my limited experience…
Create traditions around certain times of year or special occasions- of course what makes an occasion “special” is up to you!
One of our family traditions is a created “special occasion”- it’s our pre-Summer get-away. Summer is my busiest time of year, so before everything gets real crazy at our house we take a weekend to get-away and enjoy each other before we end up going four different directions during the summer months. You could use an excuse like this or create your traditions around birthdays, holidays or sporting events. I always thought a fun tradition to create would be something around your anniversary- instead of the only celebration of your wedding date being the two of you, what if you made some of the celebration a family affair- celebrating marriage and your commitment to each other and the family.
Create traditions everyone’s excited about!
Another of our family traditions included a Thanksgiving evening trip to downtown Kansas City’s Plaza to see the Christmas lights turned on for the first time of the year. In my mind it’s a great way to kick off the holidays with 100,000 of your closest friends in KC. Problem was, I’m the only one in my family and my brother’s family who was excited about it. Granted it’s usually frostbite cold, extremely crowed and makes for a late night all for about 5 minutes of delight… needless to say, that tradition is, how shall we say it, on hiatus? Let me suggest that when you are trying to create a tradition that lasts, make it something everyone’s agreeable to…
Create traditions that only make sense to you.
Let’s face it, one of the great things about some traditions is that they only make sense to your family! Our family has a great traditions during our celebration of Christmas. When all of Jenny’s family is together on Christmas Eve we play a rousing game of BINGO. I know, what does bingo have to do with Christmas? Truth is, nothing, but it’s a game everyone can play, we always have dollar store prizes and a ton of fun, even our teenage nephew asks when the BINGO game is! Why do we do it? Who knows? It’s tradition!
Create memories of your traditions.
Some of you will be better at this than others. Some of you are crafty and will whip up scrap books and amazing photo albums, but don’t worry if your not, there are other great ways to create memories of your family traditions. A couple weeks ago I attended a gathering in honor of Tim Campbell’s baptism, the Campbell’s marked the occasion by explaining to the group that Lexi, their daughter had created a family crest, and that on his baptism Tim was receiving a t-shirt displaying that crest. It was an amazing tradition and a great way to commemorate the occasion! One way our family has created memories of our traditions is by buying a Christmas ornament from each of our family vacations. Then every year when we hang ornaments on the tree together, we get to remember the trip all over again- it’s not as good as taking the trip again, but it’s a lot cheaper.
Remember, it’s OK for traditions to only last for a season, or to be adjusted as situations change. Don’t get so attached to the tradition that it rules you.
Creating traditions doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In your house traditions could be Friday pizza night once a month, or family movie night… Being creative is half the fun- I sometimes think that the more random the tradition is, the better!