Setting up Family Holiday Traditions

Hello Readers!  I’m sure you have tried, and failed, in the past to start a new family tradition.  Most likely your tradition was something that no one in your family liked or something that fell flat because everyone else lacked enthusiasm.  And, more than likely, that failure has deflated you faster than a Patriots game football when it comes to new traditions.  But there is hope!  Below are a couple of options to attempt when trying out a new tradition in your own home.

Family meeting.  When starting a tradition, make sure that everyone in your family gets on board.  Talk with your family and listen to their input on the matter.  If someone doesn’t think it’ll work, stay positive and ask them if they have an idea why it wouldn’t work or an alternative idea to make it work.  Be open to suggestions but be firm, too.  Let them know that “it’s stupid” is not helpful.  Ask them to try it out for a week or two before discounting it.

Make it Fun.  Make it fun for everyone.  Make it silly.  Make them laugh.  Sometimes, you family won’t like your new tradition in the beginning, so you will have to work extra hard on making it fun and enjoyable.  If it’s a new diet, such as a Paleo diet, make sure you incorporate favorite foods and fun shapes.  If it’s a new weekly event like volunteering or going to church, make the ride to the location fun and adventurous.  Play a game, sing a song, or tell funny jokes.  Make them want to go along with it for the fun times and the laughter.

Revisit the topic.  Have another family meeting after awhile and make sure it’s working.  Ask your family for input and be open to their suggestions.  Maybe it’s the Paleo diet and they are sick of not having bread.  Maybe it’s the day of the week you volunteer that throws them off.  Instead of completely negating the tradition, you can compromise.  You can add a sandwich to their lunches, or you can include toast with breakfast.  You can change the volunteer day to one that works better for everyone.  Sometimes asking for family input and compromising with them can keep their spirits up.

Compromise.  This is key.  Compromise with your family in order to get them into the tradition.  This can be anything from testing it out for a couple of weeks to changing the tradition.  You may even have to do something in return to get interest in the tradition.  Whatever the case, hear them out before forcing your family to test out the tradition.  The only rules with this are: (1) do not bribe with money, (2) be open to suggestions, and (3) be positive and tactful.  Not everyone is going to love the tradition, but working together can make it more enjoyable and make it a family decision rather than an individual decision.

So, let’s talk about some family traditions that can be fun for all and that I highly encourage you to do with your own family.

Nature walks.  This is my favorite family activity.  Not only can you get your family outside for fresh air every week, but this is also a great bonding opportunity for everyone.  You can talk about what’s going on in each other’s personal lives, you can discuss world events and learn from one another, and you can learn a lot from each other this way.  You can make this fun for kids by playing I Spy or doing a scavenger hunt, or you can do something more creative by adding in an arts & crafts activity with natural elements found.  But, what’s most important is to have conversations on your walks.  It can help build a healthy relationship with your kids and as a family by having conversations and taking nature walks at least once per week.

Volunteer work.  I love the idea of doing volunteer work at a place like a food pantry or a soup kitchen.  Not only does this help build your kids to make a positive difference in the world, but it also helps keep them humble and grateful for what they have.  It also helps them learn from others.  Believe it or not, many of our homeless can teach us about the world, about humility, and about hope.  At first, your kids may be scared if working at a soup kitchen.  Try warming them up to it by engaging them in a song, or telling innocent jokes, or something that you know will make them smile.  Most of all, remind your kids of the positive changes they are making in the world.

Family Night.  I love this event.  Getting together to watch a movie, play a game, or do an activity together as a family is a wonderful way to bond and maintain a healthy relationship with one another.  This one is easy, and can be done any night of the week.  I prefer a mid week Family Night, either Tuesday or Wednesday, because it’s typically a good way to get through another week.  Wednesday night is optimal because it truly is the middle of the week, and it gives your family something to look forward to each week in the middle of the week and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of everything.  I wouldn’t plan on sticking to a specific theme–Game Night, Movie Night, etc.  I would stick to Family Night and let the family decide what they want to do, or rotate through each family member for ideas.  For example, week one would be Mom’s choice, then week two is Bobby’s, then week 3 is Dad.  And finally week 4 is Suzie’s.  And then it starts over.  Plan on having the outside activities for Mom and Dad’s weeks, or if there is something that your family will enjoy during the kids’ week, offer to swap with them in order to enjoy the activity or recommend choosing it for their week.  Any way you plan it, remember to enjoy it and bond with your family over Family Night.

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas about starting a new family tradition today or will reinvigorate you to try an old one that has since been retired.

Until next time,

-BBM

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