MrsLadyWordsmith.com is thrilled to feature a guest post about family traditions from Montserrat of Cranial Hiccups. She is a dedicated member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many of her comments here reflect her religious beliefs. Welcome!
Ask my children what some of their favorite traditions are and you’ll hear things like, “Eating pancakes for lunch on our best china every Sunday after church.” or “Making gingerbread houses every Christmas season.” or “Having Mom read a book aloud in the evenings to the whole family.”
Traditions are events that occur on a regular basis that help to strengthen family bonds. Really they are just habits that bring us, as families, together. Don’t you just love getting together with family and hearing, “Remember when …?” Those memories are almost always attached to a family tradition of some sort.
As families establish and follow traditions, each family member is strengthened and the family as a whole grows in unity and love. Then, when children begin to leave home, they will take with them a sense of identity and a feeling of belonging. My husband said on his mission he could look at the clock at a certain time and know his family was probably kneeling to say family prayers right then.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World states that our greatest happiness comes when we are teaching the principles of “faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” We can influence our children and impart these principles as we share life skills, teach the Gospel through word and example, and as we have fun together. We create eternal families as we build traditions together. Here are some examples of traditions in all areas of life. Chances are you are doing many of these without realizing you are creating traditions!
Righteous traditions have a unique power. Among the most important traditions you establish should be those that are centered in the gospel.
1. Pray together. Sing a quiet song before family prayer or a big family hug right after. One sister in my ward grew up with her family always singing “Love at Home” (Hymns, no. 294). When they asked their father when they could sing a different song he replied, “When you’ve learned the message of this one.”
2. Study the scriptures together. Go around the circle, each family member reading a verse or two.
3. Attend meetings together on the Sabbath.
4. Read stories from The Friend magazine to your children every evening.
5. Hold regular family home evenings. Try different settings, such as the trampoline or on a blanket on the lawn during summer months.
6. Encourage Father’s blessings at the beginning of each school year.
7. Attend tithing settlement together as a family.
8. Make General Conference weekend a special weekend. Have a special breakfast or lunch. During the Priesthood Session mothers and daughters could gather together for some girl bonding time. Have family members take notes, and then discuss them in family home evening. Play General Conference Jeopardy the Monday after to see who paid attention.
9. When a child turns eight years of age, present him/her with their own set of scriptures.
10. Plan a special trip to the temple to do baptisms when a family member turns 12 years old.
These are the everyday ways a family shows love to one another. It shows each member is valued.
1. Have a special birthday plate or hat family members get to use on their birthdays.
2. Share the best and worst parts of each family member’s day around the dinner table. A great way to connect and get to know your children a little better
3. Friends Night. Be involved in your kid’s lives, create an “open home” environment, and help your children feel comfortable inviting friends over to your home. Once a month, have a “friends night” where your kids can invite over any friends – and just allow them to have fun, play games, and just enjoy being together!
4. Daily chores. Make it a tradition (although the kids may not see this as that “fun” of a tradition) to have each child have a daily chore. Establish a tradition of work and helping the family.
5. Set aside a specific day of the week to eat the same food, ie. pancakes for Saturday breakfast or homemade pizza on Friday nights.
6. Read books aloud to your family. Books like Little House on the Prairie, Little Britches, Cheaper by the Dozen (*affiliate links), etc. are fun for the whole family. Children also learn life lessons just from listening to the experiences people have in the books.
7. Write weekly or monthly letters to grandparents or family members serving missions.
8. Create a special cheer to say before heading out for the day.
9. Play games or sing songs on a regular basis.
10. Have a family outing once a month – to the park for picnics, a visit to the museum, or a drive around enjoying the scenery.
Holidays provide the perfect backdrop for creating fun, meaningful traditions the whole family can enjoy.
1. Make gingerbread houses every December.
2. Go caroling or look at lights.
3. Spend time serving others by shoveling walks, delivering cookies, or visiting the lonely.
4. Make resurrection rolls for Easter (see pin below).
5. Dye Easter eggs.
6. Visit the graves of family members and leave flowers on Memorial Day.
7. Have a BBQ every 4th of July.
8. Hold a special back-to-school dinner.
9. Visit a pumpkin patch together and help each other find just the right pumpkin.
10. Make gratitude lists or have a Thanks and Giving Tree in November.
As you can see, traditions don’t have to be grand, over-the-top happenings. They can be simple yet special. The best traditions are those that are free or cost little money. Being flexible and looking forward to the tradition is probably the most important. Evaluating traditions occasionally is also important. Did your family look forward to it? Did it create lasting memories? Can I tweak it slightly to make it better, easier, more meaningful? Sometimes mothers have to carry the tradition for a few years until kids are old enough or people catch the vision of what you are trying to do.
It is important to make sure the traditions you create for your family are ones that will unite, bind, and bring your family together and closer to the Savior.
Montserrat is completely devoted to her wonderful husband, Joseph, and their 10 children. They live on a 5,000 acre alfalfa farm nestled in a small Northern Nevada valley. Montserrat enjoys homeschooling, photography, cooking, crafting, chocolate, and sloppy goodnight kisses. You can follow her family’s varied adventures at Cranial Hiccups.
*I’ve included affiliate links in this post. If you choose to purchase something, using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.
What are your family’s favorite traditions?
Strengthen your family with this fun, daily challenge. Are you already doing these ideas? How can you personalize them for your family’s needs?