Every family has unique traditions that they participate in and honor throughout the years. The following new family traditions will help you create memories that last a lifetime; and they can be passed down and enjoyed for generations.
New Family Traditions to Try
Try some new activities with your family to spice up your life. Take a few of these family-centric ideas and make them traditions in your home. Starting a new family tradition is easy. All you have to do is recreate the magic of the activity at regular intervals. Remember, traditions are not routines. Traditions are special, offer a sense of family identity, and encourage bonds to grow.
Dig in to Themed Meals
Choose a day of the week or date each month and ask everyone to dress, talk, and decorate for the theme. Make sure all parts of the meal and the whole atmosphere represent your chosen theme. Theme ideas include:
- Dining Across the Decades: If you picked the 1950s one month, you might wear poodle skirts and eat TV dinners on TV trays while watching The Lone Ranger.
- World Tour: Pretend you're all in a rock band touring the world, and make each dinner fit the theme of a different country while you dine dressed as rock stars.
- Mini Mondays: Everything you eat and drink should be in miniature portions.
If going full-on theme is too aggressive for your daily life, stick with a fun meal for a certain day of the week like:
- Fast Food Friday: Order pizza, get McDonald's takeout, and give yourself a day off from kitchen duty each Friday.
- Taco Tuesday
- Breakfast for Dinner on Wednesdays
Kids will look forward to this crowd-pleasing meal each week.
Shower the Middle Child With Love
Kids typically get to feel like a king or queen for a day when it's their birthday. Throw in some other days during the year to celebrate their uniqueness. Create a tradition that honors the middle child in the family. National Middle Child's Day is August 12th, so be sure to work in some fun for the middle kid that day. Find a special day of the year to honor your oldest and youngest kids too, so they don't feel left out.
Create a Family Dance Routine
Kids love to let loose, get goofy, and dance around like no one is watching. Get the whole family in on the fun and create a family dance routine. Let kids choreograph the routine and practice it together on evenings where everyone is hanging out. Break out the dance on birthdays, during family reunions and holidays, making it a tradition to share your family moves at big events.
Sign Everyone Up for a Family 5K
Families can make traditions out of physical activities like running a 5K. Actress Katie Holmes's father got his gang involved in an annual Turkey Trot Race over the Thanksgiving holiday many years ago, and the actress continued the tradition well into her adult years.
Start a Love Journal
Keep a notebook and a pen in a general area of your home. Whenever a family member feels especially loved by another, they can write that experience in the journal. Choose a date each year or month that is special to your family and read the stories aloud.
Celebrate the Olden Days
People often talk about the "olden days," but you can relive them as a family. Choose a date to celebrate the Olden Days, and everyone has to go the entire day doing things the "old-fashioned way." It helps to pick a decade to use as inspiration for your Olden Days event, so everyone knows what modern conveniences they can't use. If you go far enough back in time, you might find yourselves gathered around the radio or looking for farm-fresh foods to eat.
Have a Housewarming Day
Your house is the safe haven for your family. Give it some much-needed love and warmth on Housewarming Day. Make a list of neglected rooms to clean or minor repairs to make, and then tackle them all in one day as a group. You'll not only make your house look better, but you'll also reinforce the value of taking pride in ownership.
Have a Year of Accomplishments Ceremony
Keep note of the many accomplishments that your children, you, and your spouse have accomplished over the last year. Note promotions, school awards, special skills learned like swimming, riding a bike, and tying shoes. Write each accomplishment down and choose to share all that your amazing family has learned or achieved over the last year on one special day annually. Be sure to grow this tradition and take time to reflect on the family gains every year around the same time.
Hold a Letter Writing Day
With technology taking over communication, letter writing is fast becoming an art of the past. One day a year, sit down with your family, and grab a couple of pens and some nice stationery to write letters to family and friends. Older family members and friends will especially love getting a letter in the mail, asking about their well-being, and reading updates from the letter-writer. To begin, generate a list of everyone your family wants to touch base with. Consider writing to former teachers, coaches, great-aunts and uncles, grandparents, and former neighbors or church leaders. Divide and conquer, having every family member write to one of the people on the list. Everyone will love getting a response back in the mail!
Celebrate an Obscure Holiday
Check out a list of weird holidays like National Cookie Day or National Chicken Month and choose one to celebrate. If your family has several beloved cats, find out when National Cat Day is and celebrate by spoiling your pets, visiting cat rescues, and playing with yarn!
Take the Plunge
The Polar Bear Plunge is held one day during the year where everyone near a cold body of water jumps into the freezing liquid in the act of solidarity. If your family lives near water, put on your bathing suits and take the plunge together. Make it something that your family participates in each year together. Celebrities like Lady Gaga and her former fiance, Taylor Kinney, have been known to make an annual tradition out of chilling out in freezing water for a day.
Put Up Birthday Door Decor
Your birthday boy or birthday girl will wake up feeling all the birthday love with this fun family tradition. The person celebrating a birthday arises to find their door decorated with balloons, signs, and streamers. Get the rest of the family in on the decorating action and cover the door with all sorts of adornments. When the birthday kid gets out of bed to start their special day, they will have to walk through the mass of decor to greet their loving family.
Host the Annual Family Olympics
Create a world of games and events to challenge your family. For one day in the year, gather up your kin and hold an Annual Family Olympics Day in the backyard. The games can be based on traditional competitive sports like baseball, soccer, and track and field, or they can be silly in nature. Work in any backyard games that will keep your family happy, together, and looking forward to this day each year.
Throw an End of the School Year Bash
The end of the school year is one of the happiest days for children and parents alike. Make it a tradition to go all out on this day. Invite your kids' friends over for a backyard bbq, go out to a local park and then have ice cream, or hold a family movie night and sleepover in the basement on the last day of school. The events you choose to participate in on the last day of school can vary from year to year, but the tradition of making this day extra special remains the same over time.
Have a Grandparents' Day Out
Make it a tradition to celebrate grandma and grandpa! Pick one day in the year; a great one to consider is Grandparents' Day, and make it all about the OGs of the family. Go out for a special meal, take a family walk, visit places that are meaningful to grandpa and grandma. Share your favorite memories of them or consider having each child in the family write a special poem in honor of your older relatives. This is a fun tradition for your immediate and extended family alike.
Go to an Annual Sporting Event
Put on your favorite sport's team gear and celebrate an annual sporting event together. Choose to attend the opening day of your city's baseball team together, a rival game during hockey season, or a fun tailgating and football game each year.
Have a Back to School Shopping Date
Getting kids ready for the upcoming school year can be daunting. There are so many supplies and clothing to gather up before the big day! Have some fun with this monumental event by having an annual back-to-school shopping day with your kids. Tailor it to your children's ages, and work in activities during the day that suit their interests. Younger kids might make a pit stop for a happy meal or get to choose one toy out at the local toy store. Older kids can also break up the shopping excursion with a trip to their favorite restaurant, a nearby bookstore or perhaps bring along a best friend to make the shopping experience more fun.
Have a Yes Day
One tradition that is growing in popularity is having an Annual Yes Day. One day in the year, the kids can make requests, and the parents say yes to all of them, assuming the requests are not outlandish. This is one annual highlight that the kids will keep circled on their calendars for sure.
Have a Family Lazy Day
Annual Family Lazy Day! Yes, please! Families are so busy racing around from one activity to the next, a lazy pajama day where no one leaves the house or lifts a finger sounds like heaven on earth. Actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds do a version of Lazy Day on Christmas Day. They have made it a family tradition not to leave the house and to relax and enjoy each other's company.
Declare an Annual Hooky Day
Make it a family tradition to skip school and skip work and play hooky once a year. Choose a day in the year to break out of the office, snag the kids from school and have a bit of fun. Go to the movies, ride go-karts, or head to the beach if the weather is pleasant. Sneak away from your daily responsibilities for 24 hours.
Have a Family Fall Harvest Day
Fall is a season full of rich colors, flavors, and festivities. Choose a day during fall to have a family harvest day. Make your favorite fall foods, take a color walk, create fall-inspired art, and pack in as much seasonal joy as you can into this family tradition.
Family Traditions for the Holiday Season
Traditions and holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly. Use the holiday season to build family traditions that your brood will look forward to each year.
Volunteer at a Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen Each Year
During the Thanksgiving or Christmas season, devote a day to helping others. Your kids will see that they get so much more out of giving to the less fortunate than they may have originally expected.
Hold a Gingerbread House Decorating Competition
Creating gingerbread houses is a timeless holiday tradition. Gather enough materials for everyone in your family to make a gingerbread house, or if you have a large family or young children, work in pairs or teams to accomplish this. Decide who has the most colorful, the neatest, and the most creative house designs. Top the gingerbread house tradition off with cookies and a movie.
Go Christmas Camping
Camping for Christmas? Why not create an exciting family tradition around this concept? Put matching Christmas jammies on and camp under the Christmas tree. Watch classic holiday films, decorate Christmas cookies and sleep under the twinkling tree lights.
Host a Cookie Baking Day
Cookie baking is a timeless holiday tradition that is easy to work into your family's seasonal festivities. Host a cookie decorating party or choose to bake and create with just your immediate family. Box cookies up and deliver them to family and friends. Consider pairing your cookie baking tradition with caroling, visiting neighbors while spreading sugar and cheer.
Read a Special Christmas Book on Christmas Eve
Each Christmas Eve, gather the family under the tree to read a holiday-inspired story. You can also spread out the story time sessions by reading a tale each night of December before Santa arrives. Kids might carry this family tradition with them as they grow into their adult years and have families of their own.
Do a Christmas Lights Tour
Gift an Experience
Kids accumulate so much stuff over the holidays. Make it a tradition in your family to give an experience. Consider a vacation, guitar lessons, a day at a museum and a meal at a fancy restaurant, or anything else that won't end up in the giant pile of toys. Actress Brooke Shields is a fan of the experience-giving tradition, especially now that her children are a bit older.
Create a Thankful Tree
Using a faux tree or a cutout tree taped to a wall, make a holiday tradition out of displaying your gratitude. Using construction paper and marker, fashion paper leaves to attach to your tree. On each leaf, encourage your family members to write down something that they are grateful for. Keep the tree up throughout the season so your family can reflect on your good fortune.
Cultural Traditions from Around the Globe
People from all across the globe practice unique family traditions that are a part of their culture and heritage. Work some of these cultural traditions into your own family culture.
Celebrate the Season With Sinterklaas
Sinterklaas is a Dutch holiday tradition that takes place on December 6th. In the Netherlands, children receive small gifts on this day and participate in a parade wearing crowns and branches. Give your child a small gift on December 6th and make a crown of twigs, jewels, and other materials to signify the event. Create your own in-house parade to top off the tradition.
Enjoy a Meal of the Month
Different countries create meals that are unique to their culture and homeland. Each month, choose a different region of the world and make a traditional meal from that area. Do some research about the traditional monthly meal and the country it hails from. Get everyone cooking in the kitchen and then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor together.
Wear White for New Year's Eve
The people of Brazil ring in the New Year wearing white. Dress your family up in this hue, and create a tradition of celebrating New Year's Eve Brazilian style. Look into other South American New Year's traditions to pair with this. Try to work a new element into New Year's Eve annually, making it a tradition to learn about this holiday around the globe every 365 days.
Try Multicultural Cuisine on Christmas
Christmas feasts are beloved events for the people who celebrate this Christan holiday. Ditch the turkey, potatoes, and ham and learn to make tamales or any other multicultural dish that's served in other cultures during the holiday season, to expand your horizons and your palates at your festive meal. Eating tamales on Christmas is a tradition celebrated in Mexico and in Costa Rica, and the famous Jonas brothers partake in the family tradition as well.
Welcome the New School Year, German-Style
Schultute is celebrated in Germany. The special tradition welcomes children back to school by gifting them a large cone-shaped cornucopia filled with treats and small items. When your little ones start a new school year, fashion a cornucopia filled with candies and small items that will make the start to their new academic year feel special.
Build a Variation of a Butsudan
The Japanese have a tradition in their homes and families of honoring those who have passed away with shrines. Create a small space in your home to honor the loved ones in your family's life who have passed on. You can also make a memorial in a garden with a small stepping stone, a bench, a tree, or other means of recognizing people in your life who are no longer with you.
Your Traditions Can Be as Unique as Your Family
Traditions can be as simple as a specific gift given for certain milestones or more complex, like a monthly or annual event. Your kids are never too old to start new traditions, so work them into your family culture regardless of their ages. Your family is the most important thing in your life, so celebrate your special humans with fun family traditions in whichever way works best for your brood.